Lipscomb University

Christian Scholars' Conference

[Archives of the 2012 CSC]


The following abstracts are organized in two categories. The first describes papers listed in alphabetical order by the author's name. The second is in alphabetical order by panel title (May 15, 2012).


Restoration History Tour of Nashville: Mac Ice


Many years ago Nashville was dubbed the “Jerusalem” of the Restoration Movement, particularly among Churches of Christ.  Indeed, for over 175 years it has been a key city in Stone-Campbell circles.  The tour highlights some of the people and places that not only shaped the face of the movement here locally but also impacted the larger Stone-Campbell story.  Come see how the Athens of the South became the Jerusalem of the Restoration Movement.


Presenters' Abstracts


Shenai Alonge, Lubbock Christian University, “Rahab as Reconciler Between God and Israel”

The story of Rahab in Joshua 2 is an interesting passage that interrupts what is otherwise a seamless narrative. It would be possible for one to read Joshua 1-3 without knowing one had passed over an entire chapter. Further questions of the larger narrative are raised in chapter 7, as readers discover that Achan and his family are killed for failing to “utterly destroy;” yet Rahab, her family, and the spies who saved them are alive and well. This essay examines Rahab’s role as a tool of reconciliation between Yahweh and the harlot nation of Israel. 

Forrest Anderson, Catawba College, “Comedy as Reconciliation: Love, Lust, and Religion in the Work of Philip Roth”

If it’s true that comedy blends pain with pleasure, then it’s likely that no other writer is as successful of a comedian as Philip Roth. His early writing relishes in the absurdity of love and the surreal hypocrisy of lust. Later, when he turns his attention to history and faith—something he’s simultaneously bitter about and bound to—his humor becomes black. He views his own religious community as the human targets of history and finds snark in the most desperate of historical situations. This paper views humor as an attempt at reconciliation in the early, middle, and late part of the writer’s career.

Jana Anderson, Lubbock Christian University and Susan Blassingame, Lubbock Christian University, “Making Writing Matter:  Critical Thinking and Writing about Poverty”

LCU conducted a month-long, campus-wide initiative, Changing Lives: Critical Thinking about Poverty.  Students, faculty, and staff were invited to think critically about the systemic sources of poverty, the ways that we help (or don’t help) the poor, and how we can be better stewards of our time, talents, and wealth in order to alleviate suffering. Nationally known speakers visited LCU, discussing local, national, and international poverty.  Students in freshman composition engaged in research and writing projects dealing with real-life issues of poverty.  We will share what we learned and how this focus on service learning will impact our students’ futures.

Joel E. Anderson, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, “Building Bridges of Racial Reconciliation in Little Rock, Arkansas”

Based on the view that race is Arkansas’s number one problem and makes every other state problem harder to solve, the new Institute on Race and Ethnicity at UALR institutionalizes the university’s commitment to seek racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas. The Institute is pursuing its mission through activities to foster sustained awareness, to provide research-based information and recommendations, to build bridges of reconciliation, to provide leadership opportunities for students, to be a clearinghouse for information, and to hold the university accountable for institutional racism. This presentation will tell the origins of the Institute and report its activities.

Joel E. Anderson, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, “Civil Rights Activism During the Ole Miss Crisis and Desegregation at Harding College”

The “Statement of Attitude” on racial integration signed by Harding College faculty and students in 1957 was followed by years of quiet and little discussion of a Christian response to issues of race. In the early 1960’s, the attitude was “It’s out there and does not involve us.” The admission of three black students in 1963 came to most people as a complete surprise. This presentation recalls those years at Harding and also a trip four students made to Ole Miss in 1962 when James Meredith was escorted in by U.S. Marshalls, a far more exciting trip than anticipated.

Garry Bailey, Abilene Christian University, “A Gendered God and Gender Role Tensions in Church: Perspectives from Relational Dialectics, Social Identity and Integrated Threat Theories”

This paper looks at how dialectical gender role tensions in church and perspectives of a gendered God can threaten gender role attitudes in church.  Relational Dialectics Theory, Social Identity Theory, and Integrated Threat Theory provide useful explanations for the problematic gender role attitudes existing among church members today.  Threats to identity are discussed with respect to the various frames of identity and dialectical tensions experienced by church members.  Perspectives of a gendered God are explored according to the relevant frames of identity and dialectical tensions.

Lisa Siefker Bailey, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, “Transcending the Futility of Desire”

This paper explores ways Cutting for Stone weaves unity beyond what is real or imagined, gained or lost, missing or constant, while insisting on something tangible which it must ultimately lose to find connection. In Romans 5, St. Paul writes, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.” Verghese’s works illustrate such a cycle and echo themes across centuries and continents from Rabindranath Tagore’s The Hungry Stones to Marilynne Robinson’s Home, as Verghese presents reconciliation by fictionalizing medicine and memoir, body and belief.

C. Wayne Baxter, Faith Chapel  Church of God in Christ, Harrisburg, PA, and Richard Hughes, Messiah College, “Building Bridges of Racial Reconciliation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania”

The Harrisburg, PA region is among the most segregated regions in the United States with the Susquehanna River as the great racial divide.  Harrisburg, on the East Shore, is overwhelmingly black and impoverished.  The West Shore is overwhelmingly white with far more affluence.  In this session, Wayne Baxter and Richard Hughes will report on a conference they organized around the theme, “What the Bible Says About the Hungry and the Poor”—a conference that encouraged Christians throughout the greater Harrisburg area to join hands and hearts across racial and geographical divides to serve and support the poor.

Jeremie Beller, University of Oklahoma, “Reconciling a Post-911 America”

This essay argues that the post 911 rhetoric of George W. Bush demonstrates a conscious effort to expand the traditional concept of American Civil Religion (CR) in an effort to prevent a backlash against Islamic citizens and to gain global support for the War on Terror. This expansion is demonstrated primarily through two rhetorical moves. First, the president positions Islamic values within the values of American CR. Second, the President portrayed American CR values in global terms.

Joanna Benskin, Purdue University, “Reconciling the Conflicted Closing of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”

Scholars dispute the final outcome of the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Some claim that the poem sides with Arthur's lighthearted court in exculpating Gawain. Others insist that the poem agrees with Gawain, who feels the weight of sin. I introduce a Christological reading of Gawain which brings these conflicting endings into a causal relationship: if Gawain is a Christ figure and the poem explores the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, then Gawain's brokenheartedness stands as the cause of the court's gladness, not its competing opposite. Gawain, like Christ, intercedes sacrificially to resolve an otherwise irreconcilable conflict.

Jaron Bentley, Abilene Christian University, “Knowledge of God and the Virtues: What a Fourteenth Century Byzantine Monk Can Offer the Churches of Christ”

Gregory Palamas saw deification as the highest goal within Christian life, and emphasized its epistemic elements by referring to mystical deification experiences as knowledge of God. Crucial to achieving this experiential knowledge of God is the practice of regulative virtues. Palamas thus sets Christian epistemic excellence as an aim achieved through virtues. I argue that the process of achieving such excellence offers an important re-envisioning of the role of the intellect in Christian life—most specifically in its place in spiritual formation—that is particularly relevant within the Churches of Christ.

Spencer Bogle, Southern Methodist University, “Reconciliation, Atonement, and Perichoresis:  The Case of International Development and the Church”

This paper offers a critical analysis of church participation in potentially harmful international development systems. The complex relationship between ecclesial confession and international development has historical, economic, political, and as I will argue, intensely theological dimensions. I will first identify similarities between the penal substitutionary model of atonement—which dominates so much of the American church—and ways in which churches participate in international development through “missions.” Secondly, this paper will propose a vision for alternatives that remain biblically grounded in theological notions of trinitarian perichoresis in order to address structural wrongdoing at its relational roots.

Major Boglin, Northlake Church of Christ, Tucker, GA, “Narrative Intentions: An Examination of the Strengths and Resources of a Church Seeking Racial Reconciliation, Inclusion, and Integration”

The North Atlanta Church of Christ’s vision statement reads, “We desire to be a Christ-centered, diverse, community impacting church.” Their vision statement implies that the church strives to maintain a racially integrated environment where Christians, from multi-ethnic backgrounds, can collaborate to glorify God through mutual service, worship, and outreach. This qualitative study looks into the stories and experiences of church members and leaders to explicate and describe the intentional and unintentional resources, strengths, and solutions that create “unique outcomes” of racial reconciliation, inclusion, and integration in this body of Christ.

Andrew Borchers, Lipscomb University, “Occupy Wall Street, a Square Deal and Theodore Roosevelt”

The recent Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement raises fundamental questions of the fairness of the economy.  Business leaders have generally dismissed OWS as uninformed, but it has resonated with many people.  This paper suggests the business community can learn valuable lessons from Roosevelt’s Square Deal in the early 20th century.  The author bases his comparison on similarities in political and economic circumstances and the success of Roosevelt’s policies.   He argues that Roosevelt applied countervailing economic power against business power without destroying a market economy.   Further, the author notes social networks enable people to circumvent traditional press and political venues.

Tanya Smith Brice, Baylor University, “Race Relations in the Churches of Christ: Strategies towards Reconciliation”

This paper highlights the history of race relations in the Churches of Christ, and offers strategies towards racial reconciliation among the fellowship. This paper relies heavily on primary documents of sermons, lectureship presentations, essays in Church of Christ-affiliated print media, and oral histories to identify historical and doctrinal contexts.  Based on these resources, this paper offers tangible strategies for working towards, and achieving, racial reconciliation in the fellowship. This paper addresses the following questions:

  • Is there a doctrinal mandate for racial reconciliation?
  • What might racial reconciliation look like among the Churches of Christ?

William Brooks, Harding University, “Recent Findings on the Functions of Non-Protein-Coding DNA”

The term “junk DNA” has been used to refer to genetic material that either does not code for protein or RNA molecules or has no known role in the gene expression process. In the past some scientists assumed that these regions of DNA represented non-functional vestiges of long-term evolutionary processes. Recent findings, however, have shed important light on these non-protein-coding regions in the genome. Numerous previously unknown functions are now being reported for DNA elements that were once considered junk. This session will focus on summarizing published examples of these newly described functions of DNA.

Michael D. Brown, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, “A ‘Statement of Attitude’: Civil Rights Activism During the Little Rock Central High Crisis”

Examples of public activism among members of Churches of Christ during the civil rights movement are rare. This paper discusses an incident that occurred at then-segregated Harding College during the Little Rock Central High Crisis in the fall of 1957. Over 900 students, faculty and staff signed a “Statement of Attitude” expressing their willingness to integrate immediately. The paper discusses the development and distribution of the statement as well as the aftermath. In addition, the paper focuses on recent discoveries which shed significant light on the racial attitudes of Harding leadership during that period.

Ron Bruner, Westview Boys’ Home, “A Macro Analysis of Intergenerational Ministry among North American Churches”

The term “intergenerational” is increasingly more common in the description of ministry to children and teens in North American churches. What are the driving impulses and the varied forms of this emerging rubric for ministry? Does extant intergenerational ministry deal with symptoms or core causes? Is such ministry truly intergenerational, or will larger systemic changes become necessary to cope with the breadth of the issues involved? This work will describe how representative faith groups have diagnosed and treated the issues at hand and then evaluate those ministerial responses.

Scott Bullard, Judson College, “‘A Void In My Life’: Volf, Memory, and the Case of Jimmy Lee Jackson”

In Marion, AL  a “cold case,” has recently re-opened involving the 1965 police killing of black protester, Jimmy Lee Jackson. This paper examines this case through the lens of Miroslav Volf, and chiefly through Volf’s work on the importance of remembering well.  Examining the memory of those persecuted in the deep South in the 1960s is not unlike Volf's own examination of his year of compulsory military service in the 1980s, when he was repeatedly examined, questioned, and threatened.  While Volf does not name all remembering as good, he also names acknowledgement of wrongdoing as essential to personal and social healing.

Orneita Burton, Abilene Christian University, “Restoring Public Trust through Women in their Natural Role as Entrepreneur”

Global economic reports reveal that, although women do two-thirds of the world’s work, they receive only 10% of all earned income and own only 1% of the world’s capital.  These statistics cast a heavy shadow over reports of declining trust for government and business.  We advance the idea that women as business leaders with proper access to global resources can better lead us out of the “trust” crisis. We discuss an economic anomaly of natural design where women create the balance for business to become both a “force for good and an engine for profit.”

Orneita Burton and Jess Weeden, Abilene Christian University, “Socioemotional Wealth’s Influence on Business Success”

Financial gain has always been the focus of the business world. For years, businesses have attempted to align compensation and employee incentives to promote financial success. Research efforts have attempted to identify new approaches that encourage participation in business and lead to mutually beneficial outcomes.  In this research, we identify measures of Socioemotional wealth as driving factors in such outcomes.  Through a literature review and pilot survey, we advance Socioemotional wealth to include measures of financial, ethical, spiritual, and social wealth. Preliminary results suggest that these measures are applicable in all business forms.

Bill Carroll, Abilene Christian University, Respondent: “The Posture of Reconciliation”

Reconciliation always requires concession or forfeiture.  The literature of the past century of Ireland makes clear that peace can only come through reconciliation, and that reconciliation always comes at a price.  In a land with such a violent history, that price is high, a point made clear by the writings explored by each of the panelists.

Jeff Cary, Lubbock Christian University, “Forgiving and Forgetting? Miroslav Volf on the Ultimate Conditions for Reconciliation”

Volf has been justly celebrated for his work on reconciliation. In his book, Exclusion and Embrace, Volf argues that ultimate reconciliation depends upon “a certain kind of forgetting.” While I enthusiastically embrace Volf’s masterful book as a whole, I will question this particular component of his thesis, and I will do so in part by drawing upon resources available within this book, especially Volf’s understanding of both grace and personhood. I will argue that his conception of “forgetting” tends to reduce the scope of both grace and personhood, both of which are crucial to his overall account of reconciliation.

Dudley Chancey, Oklahoma Christian University, “Three Generation Families of Faith: The Search of the Intergenerational Faith Center for Sustainable Faith in Churches of Christ”

The Intergenerational Faith Center (IFC) at Oklahoma Christian University was established to provide research and education about the transmission of faith from generation to generation. The pilot research project of the IFC is a three-generational qualitative study exploring similarities and differences among grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and grandfathers, dads, and sons in relation to their choices of faith and religion. Hypotheses, methods, analysis, and results will be previewed. Implications for churches, church leadership, parents, and ministers will be discussed.

Ron Clark, Agape Church of Christ, Portland, OR/George Fox Evangelical Seminary, “Community Reconciliation and Justice in Healing from Domestic and Sexual Abuse”

When working with domestic and sexual abuse survivors, faith communities struggle to address justice in an attempt to reconcile marriages or relationships. In our work with sexual violence agencies in the Portland community, the Agape Church of Christ is attempting to promote restorative justice in reconciliation. Typically faith communities have rushed to encourage reunion instead of reconciliation. Theologically, however, reconciliation requires addressing issues of power through repentance, validation, and contrition to victims and their communities. In this session I discuss some of the roadblocks that faith communities face in providing reconciliation in healing violent relationships in family and community violence.

Andrew Cook, Faulkner University, “Band of Brothers (and Sisters): the Integration of Faith and Learning into Christian College Instrumental Music Programs”

While the integration of faith and learning seems a natural fit with choral music programs and sacred music, an inherent disconnect may exist for many students when attempting to incorporate faith learning into the playing of secular music in an instrumental music ensemble.  This presentation will examine several strategies for the integration of faith into the instrumental ensemble experience at a Christian higher education institution, including the glorification of God through the use of His gifts, participation as service to school and community, and the band experience as a unique opportunity for Christian brotherhood.

Joey L. Cope, Executive Director Duncum Center for Dispute Resolution, Abilene Christian University, “Reconciliation Language: Building a Congregational Culture of Peace through Your Choice of Words”

Relationships within church congregations are complex. Although a stronger measure of patience, greater motivation for understanding, and propensity toward forgiveness is expected, church conflict often produces remarkably intense emotions and reactions. This paper looks at language in churches and provides guidelines for creating a culture of peace through the choice of words. In addition, this paper explores particular words and phrases that support or erode collaboration and offers recommendations for building a language of reconciliation.

Christopher Cotten, Lipscomb University, “Let us Look Closely at what the Text of Scripture Teaches: Ambrose’s Use of Biblical Exempla in his Funeral Oration for Theodosius”

In the winter of 395, Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, delivered a funeral oration for the Emperor Theodosius. The oration, based on texts from Psalm 114 (Vulg.) and Genesis 50, carefully deploys Biblical allusions and direct citations to make specific claims and to exhort its audience to imitation. Through a close study of the Biblical exempla used by Ambrose, this paper will demonstrate how he creates a ‘usable Theodosius,’ a Theodosius who bolsters the stability of the new regime and furthers Ambrose’s own political goals.

Derek Coulson, Western Kentucky University, “Kentucky Disciples: Unity and Division within the Restoration Movement”

This paper analyzes the roles of two men prominent in the Restoration Movement: John McGarvey and Hall Calhoun. Mcgarvey was a Kentucky native and essential founder of the College of the Bible (current Lexington Theological Seminary). Calhoun was McGarvey’s protégé. Both shared an ability to hold dialogue among increasingly alienated Restoration brotherhoods. In the context of a bifurcated nation, and a fellowship in three stages between sect and denomination, these men represent a precedent of unifying voice, and for the border state of Kentucky a paradigm into religious division that is separate from either a Northern or Southern experience.

Wes Crawford, Glenwood Church of Christ, Tyler, TX, “Shattering an Illusion of Unity: The Closing of Nashville Christian Institute”

The events surrounding the closing of Nashville Christian Institute revealed the secret hidden by denominational journals, colleges, and lectureships for decades, namely that within Churches of Christ there existed two racially defined factions with their own customs, identities, and views concerning race relations.  From the end of the 19th century until the late 1960’s, most African Americans in the denomination acquiesced to white-imposed segregation and paternalism. But, the actions of NCI’s board surfaced their feelings of resentment. The public spectacle that ensued shattered the illusion of unity in Churches of Christ and facilitated greater estrangement between African Americans and whites.

Karie Cross, University of Notre Dame, Reconciling Opposing Views in the Feminist Legal Theory Debate”

Many authors have characterized the feminist legal debate as a dichotomy, with essentialist views competing with non-essentialist views. However, this dichotomy fails to tell the full story of women before the law. Rather than advocate on behalf of a single position, I synthesize the most useful parts of multiple theories to outline the positional-relational approach to feminist legal theory. My approach recognizes first the unique position of individuals (e.g. race and class); and second, the individual’s relationship to others. The positional-relational approach not only encourages cooperation among women, but it also views men as potential partners rather than enemies.

Ken Cukrowski, Abilene Christian University, “A Theology of Gender: What Can Scripture Tell Us?”

In the discussion and definition of gender, Scripture has been both cited authoritatively and dismissed. How does the presence of cultural expressions of gender, such as levirate marriage and head coverings, influence the ways that one views examples of female activity? How does one read statements about male and female relationships, such as headship in marriage and being one in Christ? This paper addresses the pitfalls and promise of using Scripture to define gender by critiquing typical approaches and suggesting ways that Scripture can be used constructively to articulate a theology of gender.

Joe Deweese, Lipscomb University, “Reconciling the Evidence: Effects of Design and Decay?”

With the discovery of numerous previously unknown functions of DNA, there is evidence that supports an intelligent origin of the genome rather than a purely naturalistic one. Genetic information is a complex code embedded in the biological molecule called DNA. This complex code includes evidence of both design and years of decay. As Christians, how do we interpret the data related to the genome in light of the scriptures? Does not knowing the function of a DNA segment imply lack of function? This session will encourage interpretation of genetic evidence within the context of a biblical framework.

Matthew Dowling, Oklahoma Christian University, “Should We Hit the Delete Key? : Transhumanism, Emotion Suppression, and the Promise of ‘Vigilant Memory’”

In a posthuman future, some contend that uncontrolled emotion, especially negative emotion and memory, is maladaptive and should be eliminated. Transhumanists suggest this is an important part of a larger project to construct a future without suffering. Is such a future desirable? Christian communities have important reasons to argue no, rooted in the meta-memories of salvation-history: a God who suffers with us, Exodus, and Incarnation. This paper proposes that Christians are called to be archives of vigilant memory, a communal ethic and important source for justice and catechesis that exceeds the telos of posthuman conceptions of the future.

Shanna Early, Boston College, “Storytelling as Reconciliation:  Sebastian Berry’s The Secret Scripture”

Sebastian Barry’s 2008 novel The Secret Scripture tells the story of Roseanne, a woman wrongfully incarcerated in a mental hospital for 60 years. While Barry’s narrative is fictional, such institutionalizations were not uncommon in Ireland early in the 20th century, a reality that has only been recognized and addressed in recent decades. Crafting a narrative of forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation not only for the characters in the novel but also for real victims of such atrocities, The Secret Scripture confronts a historical Ireland that, in the name of nation-building, allowed for an almost systematic discrimination against religious and social dissidents.

Brad East, Yale University Divinity School, “Hooking In, Sitting Loose: A Call for Theology in the Churches of Christ

This paper explores the logic that ought to undergird the relationship between the vocation and the ecclesial identity of academic theologians in churches of Christ. Using the examples of John Howard Yoder’s radical reformation model and James McClendon’s “baptist vision,” it is argued that CoC theologians are uniquely situated today to follow their lead by standing at the ecclesial boundaries, firmly rooted yet nourished from other sources, and speaking in both directions for the sake of the universal church. Such a particular yet catholic theological perspective would be a boon to those outside as well as within the restoration heritage.

Shann "Ray" Ferch, Gonzaga University, “The Stranger, The Intimate, and The Enemy: Humanity in the Work of Abraham Verghese”

In this presentation, My Own Country serves as the backdrop for a discussion of forgiveness, atonement, and reconciliation in the work of Abraham Verghese and in the world at large. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa is considered alongside the Big Hole Massacre in northern Montana in which U.S. Cavalry decimated Nez Perce women and children. The thought of Martin Luther King, Jr in light of Christ's mandate “love your enemies” provides a foundation for further dialogue.

Jeff Fitzkappes, Lutheran School of Theology, “Theological Resources for Improving the Christian Reception of Transhumanism”

This paper examines similarities between Christian and Transhumanist beliefs and practices in an effort to find common ground, with an aim towards encouraging wary Christians to consider Transhumanism as an ally in serving others. I argue that Christianity is concerned with healing and improving lives and that Transhumanism offers detailed visions for achieving these aims through the development and deployment of advanced technologies. I conclude by saying that Christianity and Transhumanism are both oriented towards a future perfection of humankind and that they can work together, and be co-adopted, to the betterment of humankind.

Douglas Foster, Abilene Christian University, “Alexander Campbell on Human Responsibility and Divine Grace”

As a primary thought-shaper of the Stone-Campbell Movement, Alexander Campbell laid out many of the foundational assumptions of the churches’ understanding of salvation. Campbell railed against Reformed soteriology that he believed minimized human responsibility in salvation.  This study will reexamine Campbell’s view of the role of human agency in salvation and whether or not he made as radical a break with Reformed theology as he seems to imply.

Ryan N. Fraser, Freed-Hardeman University, “Spiritual Narratives of Adoptive Parents within the Churches of Christ”

While much attention has been given to the various social and psychological experiences of two members of the adoption triad—namely adopted persons and birthparents—adoptive parents are largely overlooked in the literature.  More particularly, sparse information has been collected on the issue of adoptive parents’ spiritual narratives.  Cultural and religious traditions significantly affect how adoptive parents interpret and make spiritual and theological meaning of their unique experiences.  The present study uncovers the distinctive reauthoring process of Church of Christ adoptive parents’ faith narratives resulting from the experience of receiving a child through adoption.

Ty Frost, Abilene Christian University, “Symbolic Retribution and Reconciliation in the Apophthegmata Patrum”

Drawing on the Apophthegmata Patrum, a collection of sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers which includes sayings from leaders of the imperial sect which persecuted Egyptian Christians, this paper argues for establishing symbolic reconciliation through an ontological shift. The Apophthegmata Patrum represents a view of reconciliation which requires a change in ontological categories: the strong experiences transformation to the weak, the victimizer discovers his identity subsumed in that of the victim. Common forms of retributive justice create new atrocities in attempting to balance the scales. The Apophthegmata Patrum bypasses this system through reframing rather than repaying injustice with injustice.

Terry Gardner, Independent Scholar, “A. McGary, the Passionate Warrior”

This paper examines a controversy between David Lipscomb and Austin McGary about how to receive converts from “sects” who had already been immersed. McGary, in the Firm Foundation and his later, lesser-known periodicals, advocated baptizing all who had not been baptized expressly “for remission of sins”, while Lipscomb, in the Gospel Advocate, defended accepting those who professed that they had been baptized “to obey God.”  This paper assesses the arguments, rhetoric, and motives of Lipscomb and McGary regarding “rebaptism.” Why did they do and say what they did, and how did their words and actions affect their personal relationship and the relationships of their followers?

Benjamin Garner, University of Kansas, “Vote With Your Fork: Food, Reconciliation, and Politics at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market”

Farmers’ markets in North America have grown drastically in the last two decades, from around 1,000 in the 1990s to about 5,000 today (Gowin, 2009).  Farmers’ markets offer many benefits: they shorten the food chain, are environmentally sensitive, create a sense of community, and rebuild trust in our food supply.  Using ethnographic methods, I interviewed people at the farmers’ market in Lawrence, KS.  I discuss who supports these markets and suggest how this food system can play a role in being a good steward of the environment and can reconcile some ills of our current food system. 

Ashley Gay, Emory University, “Tents without Temples: Theological Home(lessness) in the Church”

This paper will pursue theological voices not at home in their respective traditions, but whose restlessness within fidelity, nevertheless provides a needed perspective within the church. Not only will the paper touch upon theories of homelessness (Levinas’ disrupted subject, Heidegger’s ‘umheimlichkeit’ as taken up by Lacoste), it will also read untraditional theologians through the insights of strained fidelity (Marcel’s ‘creative fidelity,’ Weil’s faith through ‘affliction’). The aim, then, is to provide an opening for unsystematic, un-housed, ‘theologians’ whose faith more resembles the hospitable, albeit transitory, tabernacle than the secured temple.

Heather Gorman, Baylor University, “‘Certainly this man was dikaios’: Luke’s Passion Narrative through the Lens of Ancient Rhetoric”

The importance of the theme of innocence in Luke’s Passion narrative has long been recognized, largely because of the repeated proclamations by characters at the trial and crucifixion. Beyond these examples, this essay argues—based on the ancient rhetorical techniques of paraphrase, refutation, and confirmation—that Luke interweaves Jesus’ innocence throughout his Passion narrative on a structural and stylistic level as well. This rhetorical analysis suggests that Luke likely intended his audience to hear the centurion’s proclamation of Jesus as “dikaios” in terms of political innocence and eliminates the need to posit sources other than Mark for Luke’s Passion narrative.

James L. Gorman, Baylor University, “From Burning to Blessing: Baptist Reception of Alexander Campbell’s New Translation”

This paper analyzes Baptist reception of Alexander Campbell’s The Sacred Writings of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ (1826). Campbell considered his work on this new version to be “the most valuable service we have rendered this generation.” Relying on periodicals, minutes, and other germane sources, this paper narrates Baptist responses to Campbell’s translation and Campbell’s retorts. Responses usually focused on the translation’s content and features, but I argue that the turbulent Campbell–Baptist context played as decisive a role in directing Baptist reception as the content of the translation.

Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., Weill Cornell Medical College, Dean Emeritus, “Suffering, Medicine, and the Book of Job”

Physicians regularly encounter suffering in patients who may be seriously or chronically ill, disabled, or dying.  This paper explores the questions of why God allows suffering and how physical pain can be connected to spiritual pain.  It considers the book of Job in particular for insights as to the nature of suffering and the possibility of reconciliation, the way society has viewed diseases as a manifestation of God, and potential implications for the practice of medicine. Prepared responses from Robert Jones (Duke University School of Medicine) and Suzanne Olbricht (Harvard Medical School) and Abraham Verghese (Stanford University School of Medicine) will follow.

Chai Green, University of Ulster, Missionary to Northern Ireland, “Meditative Photography: Recording Light and Exploring Spirituality”

This project explores spirituality through photography in Northern Ireland and engages in cross-cultural reconciliation between Protestant, Catholic, and immigrant communities.  Past research suggests that photography of atrocities does not provide impetuous for change or reconciliation.  My approach is to use photography as a tool for meditation and invite the community into the photograph creation process.  The photographs encourage an ethereal reading, but are open enough to allow the viewer to make their own spiritual connection.  Images are created with help from people across religious lines. Both image and creation process attempt to move beyond the bounds of sectarianism.

Benjamin Griffith, Abilene Christian University, “Healthy Conflict: A Proposal for Political Engagement in the Church of Christ”

Engagement in democratic discourse should be performed in the form of healthy conflict; this entails (1) the deliberative practices of candid expression and immanent criticism and (2) possession of virtuous dispositions like epistemic humility. In keeping with this model, Restorationists should hold together the boldness of candid expression and criticism with the humility to listen to the insights of others. If guided by virtuous dispositions, the Church of Christ can play an important role in political deliberation through offering the unique theological insights of our tradition.

Gail Hamner, Syracuse University, “Eating from the Tree of Life Outside Eden”

This paper will show how The Tree of Life enacts a fundamental reconciliation of nature and grace primarily through juxtaposed images of trees and water. The context of this reconciliation is a psalmic lament conveyed by nostalgia. To theorize the film’s performative reconciliation and it context, the paper will use Merleau-Ponty’s notions of flesh and chiasm and Gilles Deleuze’s idea of “pure” events, respectively. Resonant with many of the Lament Psalms, the film’s howl against human suffering wriggles out of the mysterious but incontestable bedrock of God’s love, presence, and grace.

Chad Harrington, Lipscomb University, “Reconciliation through Justification in the Early Church: Paul’s Letter to the Galatians”

Jewish Christians faced an unprecedented challenge during the advent of the Christian era, Gentile inclusion. This paper argues that Paul’s rhetoric in Galatians 2:15-16 is sociological, not just theological, moving the church towards unity. The essay examines justification, works of law, and faith/fullness as each relates to the social dynamics of the church in early Christian context. Thus, it examines the literary, grammatical, and theological elements of the propositio in Paul’s letter to discern the identity struggle among the Galatian church members that had the phenomenological opportunity to dispel the dividing wall of hostility between them.

Megan Faver Hartline, St. Bonaventure University, “Yeats, Boland, and Their Conflicting Views of Irish Postcolonialism”

In Object Lessons: The Life of a Woman and the Poet in Our Time, Eavan Boland describes William Butler Yeats as a poet with a strong identity, but contrasts her identity as an Irish poet against his. While Yeats ambitiously writes his poetry to depict the identity of an entire nation reforming after the pains of colonialism, Boland’ poetry aims to give voice to the experience of otherwise nameless citizens in Ireland.  Through this, she reconciles poet and citizen to a nation made fractious both by political history and the records of that history through art.

Kenneth Hawley, Lubbock Christian University, “The Consolation of Philosophy and the Reconciliation of Boethius”

Throughout his Consolation, Boethius presents approaches by which the harsh and troubling circumstances of life might be reconciled with what can be known of God, meeting the difficult questions that suffering poses with the eternal perspective of God. Those who have translated his work have often found themselves, though, reconciling what can be known of Boethius and of his Consolation  with their own views of the world and of God. This presentation will show how Boethius made sense of his world and how his translators have made sense of his most influential work.

Harold Hazelip, Lipscomb University, President Emeritus, “Batsell Barrett Baxter: ‘Truth Through Personality’”

From the early 1960s until his death in 1982, Batsell Barrett Baxter was the most widely known minister in churches of Christ in the U. S.  This paper explores Baxter’s contributions toward a kinder, gentler preaching ministry among churches of Christ.  Utilizing categories from the marks of persuasion in Classical Rhetoric [his discipline], it reflects upon Baxter’s ethos (the man—influences on his character), his logos (the message—his sermon preparation and presentation), and his pathos (the mission—his passion for evangelism and Christian formation). 

Tracey S. Hebert, Lipscomb University, “Colleges and Universities Affiliated with Churches of Christ: Enrollment Trends and the Future of Spiritual Formation”

This paper considers the demographic trends impacting colleges and universities affiliated with Churches of Christ and subsequently what the future of spiritual formation might look like within these institutions. Changing demographics and educational environments are resulting in these institutions serving increasingly diverse student audiences within their traditional residential, commuter, non-traditional, adult, online, off-site, and graduate programs. The distinctiveness that these institutions enjoy within the higher education marketplace is their Christian mission and this paper will address a model for the conceptualization, strategies, and methods for implementing spiritual formation within the diverse student audiences being served.

Jeremy Hegi, Abilene Christian University, “Don Carlos Janes and Reconciliation in the Stone-Campbell Movement: The Murch Witty Unity Meetings”

Don Carlos Janes (1877-1944) was a prominent figure in Church of Christ mission efforts during the first half of the twentieth century. While Janes spent the majority of his time promoting missions among the denomination, he also displayed the best of his Stone-Campbell heritage through his love of and commitment to Christian Unity. In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, he expressed his dedication to reconciliation by participating in the Murch-Witty unity meetings led by James DeForest Murch and Claude Witty. This paper examines Janes’s attitude toward and understanding of Christian Unity and reconciliation as expressed in his involvement with the Murch-Witty unity meetings.

Jeremy Hegi, Abilene Christian University, “Don Carlos Janes, ‘One-Man Missionary Society’”

This paper explores the work of Don Carlos Janes (1877–1944), arguably the most significant missions-related figure in Churches of Christ during the early twentieth century. While Janes never served as a fulltime missionary, he devoted his life to missionary activism. So extensive was his work and significant his impact that some assigned him the title, “one-man missionary society.” This paper suggests that mainstream Churches of Christ marginalized Janes’s work and legacy because of his dispensational premillennial eschatology and seeks to rehabilitate this lost figure from the past to illustrate how Churches of Christ can recover, and thus reconcile, their history.

Stanley Helton, First Christian Church (DoC), Hammond, La, “‘This is That’: Intertextual Traces of the Minor Prophets in the Acts of the Apostles”

This paper explores how the Minor Prophets (often transmitted in a single scroll) influenced Luke’s Acts of the Apostles. Two citations from the Minor Prophets appear to have a paradigmatic value in the ensuing narrative. Stanley E. Porter has argued that Joel 2.28-32) functions in Acts as Isa 61.1-2 does for Luke’s Gospel. Additionally, Amos 9:11, 12 in Acts 15 provides the divine mandate for the mission to the Gentiles, perhaps the theme of Acts. An examination for intertextual traces of the Minor Prophets in Acts may show that Luke found the Minor Prophet paradigmatic for his project in Acts.

John Mark Hicks, Lipscomb University, “What's All the Fuss About? Neo-Puritan Evangelicalism and the New Perspective on Paul”

Contemporary Evangelical Theology is presently experiencing some significant tensions. Postconservative Evangelicals have embraced a broad range of ideas that place them in tension with Confessional or Traditional Evangelicals. One significant tension point is the conflict between the New Perspective on Paul with the Confessional understanding of Justification. My paper will explore the nature and importance of this conflict within Evangelicalism through the lens of John Piper and N. T. Wright. Why is this conflict a potential boundary marker of fidelity to the gospel for some Evangelicals, particularly those who are styled the "New Calvinists" (Neo-Puritans)?

Ron Highfield, Pepperdine University, “Is Sound Doctrine Good Theology?”

In this paper I will attempt critically to examine the five-volume work Sound Doctrine in light of the history of doctrine and theology of the larger Christian tradition. I will be concerned to understand Nichol’s and Whiteside’s theological method, their articulation and defense of the doctrinal complex distinctive to Churches of Christ, and their exposition of the classic topics of theology. Lastly, I want to address the relevance of these volumes to Churches of Christ today. Which aspects should be preserved or retrieved and which ones left behind?

Jonathan Huddleston, Abilene Christian University, “‘Big Tent’ Israel and Genesis’ Inclusive Genealogy”

Many have examined reconciliation in Genesis between Israel and its neighbors, Israel and “the nations.” Genesis’ reconciling project begins, however, with the very question of who Israel is. Claimants to the identity-label Israel, from all the scattered tribes, are invited to find unity in Genesis’ idealized memories and hopes. Genesis’ stories, focused through Jacob’s blessing (ch. 49), make a mosaic out of mutually suspicious Levites and Danites, Judeans and Samarians. So we, too, find reconciliation amidst diversity in the way we name ourselves.

Richard Hughes, Messiah College, “David Edwin Harrell Jr. and the History of the Stone-Campbell Tradition”

For many academicians, David Edwin Harrell—this true believer of the anti-institutional Churches of Christ—and the social history of Churches of Christ that he has produced—a kind of history that seems so profoundly relativizing—seem profoundly out of sync with each other.  This paper will argue that, in reality, Harrell presents us with no enigma at all since his religious commitments and the social history to which he has devoted his career have informed and buttressed each other at every point along the way.

Shawn R. Hughes, Lubbock Christian University and Dustin Hahn, Texas Tech University, “Sing it Out: A Study of Worship Media Effectiveness”

This study looks at media messages in a worship assembly, utilizing a Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing (LC4MP) framework to determine the effectiveness of delivery of song lyrics in worship.  Overall singing levels in a worship assembly measured the level of subject involvement. Two key variables were manipulated, the familiarly of the song, and the use of text only or a combination of video and text to display song lyrics.  Results indicated that participants sang louder with familiar songs, with only the text of the lyrics being displayed, consistent with the LC4MP theory.

Carolyn Hunter, Pepperdine University (retired), “Esther: A New Reading?” 

When commenting on the story of Esther, scholars unleash a marvelous range of ingenuity in their interpretations.  But when faced with the task of preparing a viable script from this Biblical text for the purpose of public performance, what approach should we choose?  What is the best way to “read” this book with integrity: as a folk tale, as a clever pastiche of allusions, as an adaptable commentary on morality, as a political satire, or as an allegory of redemption?  In this presentation, we will attempt to find our way into the receptive ears of a contemporary audience.

Mac Ice, Independent Scholar, “David Lipscomb on Rebaptism: Contexts of a Controversy.”

This paper contextualizes David Lipscomb’s voice in a significant debate among conservative Disciples in the latter decades of the nineteenth century.  Probing Lipscomb’s position on the propriety of reimmersion, this paper situates his role in the discussion in four key contexts:  in a historical context (Lipscomb’s own baptism), in a theological context (the larger framework of his baptismal theology), in his ecclesial context (the practice at Nashville’s South College Street Christian Church where Lipscomb served as an elder), and in its immediate journalistic context (his exchanges, as Editor of the Gospel Advocate, with Austin McGary and the Firm Foundation).

Barron James, San Antonio, TX, “Reconciliation to the Political Stranger: Work among Spanish Speaking Churches”

This paper highlights work with congregations that border Mexico.  It examines the social, cultural, racial, and political challenges of that work.  It provides a model for racial reconciliation, particularly in the context of our current political climate, for the Church of Christ.

Peter Jankowski, Bethel University, “Measuring Spirituality from within a Relational Framework: Testing Two Proposed Theoretical Models”

This presentation reports the findings from two studies that conceptualized and measured spirituality from within a relational framework.  One aspect of a relational paradigm consists of a focus on the self-regulating function of religious involvement and intrinsic motivation. The first study examined religious service attendance as a moderator of the indirect effect between parentification and alcohol misuse through differentiation of self.  The second study examined the moderating effect of intrinsic religious motivation on the association between self-regulation and alcohol misuse through alcohol expectancies. Results supported the theoretical premise that the protective function of spirituality in relation to alcohol misuse involves fostering self-regulatory strength and self-control.

Steve Joiner, Managing Director, Institute for Conflict Management,  Lipscomb University, “Turning the Other Cheek or Draw the Line: Addressing Axelrod's ‘Tit for Tat’ Theory within a Christian Environment”

Robert Axelrod’s game theory approach (Tit for Tat) in managing mixed- motive conflict competitively shapes much of the foundation of conflict management theory in America.  The question must be asked, “Are competitive models of managing conflict appropriate within a faith setting that values ‘turning the other cheek?’” Axelrod and other competitive models will be examined in light of Jesus’ call to humility and meekness.

James Patrick Kelly, International Bonhoeffer Society, “The Quest of the Historical Bonhoeffer: Eric Metaxas’ 2010 Biography and a Clarification of Bonhoeffer’s Faith”

Many have read Metaxas’ best-selling biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Metaxas’ basic claims in light of important Bonhoeffer texts will be examined. A somewhat different picture of Bonhoeffer’s consistent perspective, evident in all his thinking from age 18 until his death, is the  basis both of his early call for the German Church to oppose their Nazification and later engagement in the German Resistance. Bonhoeffer’s Christ-centered faith is more orthodox and more worldly than it often appears to be.

Donna Moore King, Lipscomb University, “Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life: Conflict and Reconciliation in Musical Narrative

The discontinuous narrative of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is unexpectedly coherent, thanks in large part to the score, which includes original music by Alexandre Desplat as well as excerpts from compositions spanning three centuries of the Western tradition. Working in conjunction with Malick’s powerful images, these works help illuminate or reconcile many of the story’s conflicts, including the paradox of embracing a finite lifespan within a timeless existence.  From the intricate counterpoint of Bach to the reflective spirituality of John Tavener, this music signals to the audience what the characters begin to understand only with time.

Russ Kirby, Abilene Christian University, “An Authentic Journey towards Reconciliation”

This paper illustrates one story of racial reconciliation in an inner city congregation in California.  This story serves as one model for racial reconciliation in the Church of Christ.

Vadim Kochetkov, Abilene Christian University, “Reconciliation with Fellow Creatures: Animal Welfare and Christian Virtue”

Ethical discourse concerning animal welfare often proceeds either in terms of human well-being or in terms of intrinsic worth, independent of human interests. The former approach fails to recognize the harms suffered by nonhuman animals as genuine. The latter often makes extreme demands, and thus lacks feasibility as a basis for the mutual flourishing of human animals and fellow creatures. This paper aims to deepen the understanding of the relation between human and nonhuman animal welfare by defining welfare in terms of the natural good, which assumes moral significance in the context of a theologically framed virtue ethics.

Michelle Kraft, Lubbock Christian University, “Heroine or Femme Fatale? Reconciling Judith in Visual Art, Renaissance to 20th Century.”

While the character of Judith has appeared repeatedly throughout art history, the nature of her representation has varied dramatically. She is portrayed at times as the personification of chastity and piety; at other times, she is an embodiment of revenge and sexuality. In this presentation, I will survey a number of Judith images, from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and examine their iconography to illustrate how Judith’s characterization is shaped by the societal and cultural contexts in which she is depicted. In doing so, I will seek to reconcile the femme fatale with the heroic portrayal in the Apocrypha.

Mark Lackowski, Yale University Divinity School, “Sons of Promise, Sons of Sacrifice: A Dialogical Midrash of Genesis 21 and 22”

The Akedah in Genesis 22 is an incredible example of biblical prose with an extensive and well-deserved reception history. However, the near-sacrifice of Isaac is too often read apart from its immediate narrative context, that is, the expulsion and near-sacrifice of Ishmael in Genesis 21. By drawing upon the work of Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, this paper presents a dialogical midrash of the two accounts together. In so doing, an implied hermeneutic of care and concern is revealed for those outside the covenant made between YHWH, Abraham, and Abraham’s seed, especially for the alien, the widow, and the orphan.

Earl Lavender, Lipscomb University, “Redemptive Response Through Spiritual Formation: A Unique and Comprehensive Learning Experience”

The “fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.” We, as Christian universities, are to train students into the purposes of God -- the ordering and filling of creation as his image. All vocations should be expressions of God’s continuing creative activity, yet all have been twisted by idolatry. God's redemptive response is Christ followers living as healing influence in the brokenness of the world as God reconciles all things through the blood of the cross. This session will suggest an epistemological foundation and practical ideas for the implementation of such an approach to higher education.

Carson Leverett, Abilene Christian University, “Toward a Theodicy of Christ: Approaching the Problem of Evil from the Perspective of Evil’s Victims”

The endeavor of justifying God or defending theistic belief in God is a useful enterprise for those replying to atheistic objections. However, such arguments are less relevant when viewed from the lens of evil’s victims. For victims of evil, the tenability of faith is secondary to the more immediate problem of the meaninglessness that accompanies horrific evil. Approaching the problem of evil within the Christian tradition from the lens of evil’s victims provides one with a possible framework for making-meaning after the experience of evil, and illuminates resources within the Christian tradition that assist one in this process of meaning-making.

See Huang Lim, Abilene Christian University, “Reconciliation through Indigenization:  Shusako Endo and Christianity in Japan”

Through his novels, the Japanese author Shusaku Endo argues for the necessity of the indigenization of the Christian faith in Japan. He reveals that Christianity is trapped within its Hellenized and western forms; as such, he points out that unless Christianity is contextualized in an authentically Japanese manner, its gospel message will be rendered useless. Brett Dewey, an Endo scholar comments, “His is a literature of liberation from western theological imperialism, and yet radically Catholic.” In this critical examination of Endo's novel, Silence, we will explore the possibilities for cross-cultural reconciliation through the indigenization of the Christian faith.

Jodie L. Lyon, University of Georgia, “A Niebuhrian Doctrine of Sin as Roadmap for Navigating Gender Reconciliation in the Church”

Because the impetus for Christian reconciliation rests on the awareness of one’s own sinfulness, this paper examines ways a Niebuhrian doctrine of sin can foster gender reconciliation in the church.  Two points of Reinhold Niebuhr’s harmartiology are highlighted. First, Niebuhr’s insistence on the equality of sin and the inequality of guilt is discussed in the context of the need for women to accept responsibility for their own complicity in patriarchy. Second, contrary to contemporary feminist objections, Niebuhr’s characterization of sin as a vertical rather than a horizontal offense is considered as a way of denouncing behaviors that inhibit gender equality.

Suzanne Fournier Macaluso, Abilene Christian University, “Gender Identity Construction: Role Theory and Symbolic Interaction in Religious Contexts”

There are many ways to understand the creation of gender identities. In the social sciences there are competing theories on how gender identities are constructed. Role Theory and Symbolic Interaction are two such theories. Both focus on the role of socialization in the creation and maintenance of gendered norms and expectations. Role and Symbolic Interaction theories posit that boys and girls learn gender norms through their encounters and experiences with significant others of the same sex. The current paper will examine how these two theories are to be understood in religious context.

Suzanne Fournier Macaluso & Jared Perkins, Abilene Christian University, “The Effects of Religious Tradition on Women’s Employment at Christian Colleges”

With the rising popularity of attendance at religiously affiliated colleges and universities in the United States and with the emergence of research on women’s roles in religious contexts, the current study seeks to combine these two fields. This study will analyze the number of female faculty at institutions of Christian higher education to see if there is a relationship between the number and rank of female faculty and the denominational affiliation of the institution. The study utilizes data collected from university online catalogs to understand the relationship between religious tradition and female faculty roles.

Tracy Mack, Lubbock Christian University, “Rethinking World Poverty; Causes, Solutions and Unintended Consequences”

Approximately 15% of the world’s population is living in extreme poverty.  Since the 1960s, approximately $2.5 trillion has been invested by governments, NGOs, and religious organizations, attempting to solve this economic problem.  Yet it appears that these investments have not solved this problem; many believe they have exacerbated the problem. Three influential writers examine the causes of and provide their prescriptions for ending this extreme poverty: Jeffrey D. Sachs, Paul Collier, and William Easterly. This paper will examine each of their books to determine what we as believers and educators can learn and what, if anything, we should do.

Kirt Martin, Lubbock Christian University, “Francis Collins: The Language of Science and Faith,”

The genetic information presented by Francis Collins and the interpretation of that data changes as he transitions from his first book The Language of God (2006) to the subsequent books The Language of Life (2010) and The Language of Science and Faith (2011).  In the most recent book, Collins and coauthor Karl Giberson continue to maintain that the sequence of genes and the presence of pseudogenes and broken genes, particularly the GULO gene, are strong evidence for common ancestry and evolution. This session will focus on presenting the evidence and rationale offered in this latest book.

Kraig Martin, Baylor University, “Faith and the Rationality of Closing Inquiry”

One closes inquiry regarding some claim when one intentionally stops checking to see if the claim is true, with no intention of further investigation.  This paper is about the standards of justified closure of inquiry, and how those standards relate to faith, which is plausibly thought of as entailing or constituting an instance of closing inquiry.  What are the standards for a justified closure of inquiry, and how does faith in God fare in light of those standards?  I argue in favor of a non-reductive theory, which I call the Relational Theory of Justified Closure of Inquiry.

Troy W. Martin, Saint Xavier University, “Particular Perspectives on Peritome (Circumcision) by Physicians, Philosophers, Philo, and Paul”

This paper investigates the medical, cultural, and social significance of the lack or removal of a foreskin as a way of understanding discussions of circumcision (peritome) in the writings of Philo and Paul.  Special attention is focused on the relationship of a bare glans to male sexual arousal and lechery in the discussions of ancient physicians and philosophers.  These cultural and social perspectives of peritome help explain the way Philo recommends circumcision, why Paul is so adamantly opposed to it, and why Christianity abandoned the practice altogether.

Colt McCook, Catholic University of America, “Basil, Asceticism, & the Hexaemeron”

In this paper I will examine Basil’s Longer Rules 1-7 as representative of his ascetic teaching and highlight four principles that Basil considered primary. I will then demonstrate how Basil applied these principles to the life of the church in his Hexaemeron, a series of homilies. I will argue that Basil intended his core ascetic message for all Christians. This argument has implications for Churches of Christ as we discover what spirituality looks like in our tradition. Recognizing Basil’s ascetic instruction as applicable to Christians of all types challenges us to live distinctive lives in a world that threatens assimilation.

Marianne McInnes-Miller, Alliant University, “Perspectives of Spirituality”

The present analysis was part of a larger study in which the researcher examined spirituality, gender, and supervisory style in supervision.  In this portion, the researchers examined the perceptions of spirituality among marriage and family therapy graduate students across the United States. Out of 153 participants in the larger study, 136 answered an open-ended question designed to solicit qualitative data: In the space provided below, please describe how you define spirituality for yourself.   Some of the themes that emerged were connection, inner peace, rituals, God, higher power, multiple gods, nature, foundation of life, philosophy of being. Researchers concluded that for some, spirituality is a multifaceted construct often experienced within relationships between people.

Kavian McMillon, Abilene Christian University, “A Conflict of Interests: African Americans in Churches of Christ and the Legacy of the Black Church in America”

This paper examines traditionally African American churches within the context of the Black Church in America.  A case study of an African American Methodist preacher who converted to the Church of Christ in 1963 in rural Louisiana provides an illustration of the paradox of the Black Church in America and Black Churches of Christ.

Derek McNamara, Lubbock Christian University, “The Rhetoric of Reconciliation in Romans 5:1 – 11”

The unity of Jews and Gentiles was one of the most challenging internal struggles the early church faced. 2,000 years later unity among Christians continues to be a challenge. Three aspects of Paul’s rhetoric in Romans 5:1—11 will be examined. First, Paul’s recasting of the Christians’ past identity. Second, the Christian community is presented as being united by the proliferation of first person plural verbs (we) and pronouns (our) in this text. Third, Paul emphasizes the reconciling work of Jesus. Implications include: Paul sets out a rhetorical/theological paradigm for reconciliation between Christians and Paul’s rhetoric of reconciliation is limited to Christians.

Catherine Meeks, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA, Emeritus, “Building Bridges of Racial Reconciliation in Macon, Georgia”

I have been involved in working to build bridges of racial reconciliation in Macon for the past 35 years. This work has been done through small group work, organizing large community oriented conversations, participating in the Center for Racial Understanding, writing on the subject of race and the need for better race relations, seeking and creating opportunities to present programs that were designed to help to foster racial understanding and healing.

Benjamin Olbricht, University of Delaware, “The Role of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the German Resistance to the Third Reich in Postbellum German Identity and Thought"

Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer played an active role in the German resistance to the Third Reich, both as a pastor in the Confessing Church and as an Abwehr agent, the German intelligence organization which united and communicated between disparate resistance circles. The role of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the context of wider resistance to the Nazi regime will be presented. The German community of memory will be described in context of the formative ideologies developed by the German resistance to the Nazi regime. The impact of Bonhoeffer’s legacy will be demonstrated by exploring the broader meaning of Widerstand to modern German thought and conscience.

Rick Oster, Harding School of Theology, “Trust and Obey, for There's No Other Way: Obedience and Works in Paul”

In light of major paradigm shifts in the understanding of late second temple Judaism and of the theology of Paul, scholars are reassessing whether the influential, but outdated, paradigms of the Reformation still speak adequately for Paul.  Significant insights have been gained on the topics of “works of the Law,” obedience and righteousness, grace and works, and Spirit-led Law keeping.  In a time when all major ideas within Christian faith and practice are up for grabs, the contemporary believer has the opportunity to walk away from outdated paradigms and be better informed about the current developments and tenets of biblical studies.

Cambry Pardee, Loyola University, Chicago, “Matthew’s Wicked Tenants: Gentiles in Israel’s Vineyard?”

The parable of the wicked tenants in Matthew 21:33-46 functions as the evangelist’s explanation for the existence of the mixed Jewish-Gentile community of Christ-followers for whom he composed his gospel.  In order to explain the phenomenon of Gentile inclusion in his community Matthew appropriates the traditional metaphor of Israel as the vineyard of the LORD from Isaiah 5:1-7, revises the Song to create a new standard for participation in the Kingdom based on fruit production rather than religious heritage, and reconciles the experience and identity of his community with Israel’s sacred texts.

Cambry Pardee, Loyola University, Chicago, “Sex, Slogan, Scripture: Paul’s Argument about Body, Spirit, and Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20”

Paul’s argument concerning intercourse with prostitutes in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is a reflection on the purpose of the human body and the relationship of the physical and the spiritual.  In this brief passage Paul appeals to, builds on, and reinterprets two kinds of “authorities”: the first are slogans apparently in use among the Corinthians concerning freedom, the second is a passage from Scripture, Genesis 2:24.  This passage, with its appeals to slogan and scripture, constitutes an extremely significant component of Paul’s teaching about the relationship of body, spirit, and resurrection.

Stacy L. Patty, Lubbock Christian University, “Heroines, Saints, and the Rest of Us?  On Moral Ambiguity and the Illusion of Super-Morality” 

Drawing from recent ethics studies related to supererogation, I will argue that selected women in biblical history should be viewed as exemplars of normally excellent “ordinary morality” rather than rare and superhuman moral exceptionalism.  The stories of these women imply, then, that acts of super-duty typically identified with only the saintly are worthy – and possible – actions for all moral persons.  Reconciling the gap between normal and saintly persons provides a hopeful perspective regarding contemporary social and political ethics.

Glenn Pemberton, Abilene Christian University, “When God is the Problem: Reconciliation in Psalms of Lament”

This paper will examine seven psalms that explicitly and emphatically charge God with gross neglect or wrongdoing (Pss 44, 60, 80, 88, 89, 90, 120). While these psalmists assert covenant fidelity (44:17-18, cf. 89:9,13), they implicitly and explicitly accuse God of breaking covenant (e.g., 89:39,49). Consequently, reconciliation with God is not a matter of divine forgiveness. Instead, these writers imagine, hope, and demand God to act in ways that make reconciliation possible; and in the end, offer their own forgiveness of God’s failures.

Lynette Sharp-Penya, Suzanne Fournier Macaluso, Garry Bailey, & Lori Anne Shaw, Abilene Christian University, “Measuring Gender-Role Attitudes in Religious Contexts: A Test of Scale Reliability and Validity”

According to prior research , differences in attitudes toward gender roles exist among religious populations at both the denominational and congregational level. Being able to measure these differences may help to facilitate congregational gender-role discussions. However, prior research provides no valid and reliable scale to measure gender-role attitudes in religious contexts. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to develop a concise, valid and reliable scale that can be used by churches as part of gender-role discussions to assess members’ gender-role attitudes in religious contexts.

Brandon Pierce, Abilene Christian University, “The Pain of Being and Becoming Human: Pain in Christian Ascetic Theological Anthropology”

The ascetic theologian John Climacus writes, “Those who aim at ascending with the body to Heaven, indeed need violence and constant suffering...” Pain—physical and emotional—is the groundwork and facilitator of human striving. By starting from the vantage point of recent interdisciplinary scholarship on pain this paper will aim to articulate the various conceptions of pain in the ascetic theological anthropology of John Climacus and Isaac of Nineveh. The renewed understanding and appreciation of pain from contemporary scholarship will allow us to both understand and criticize the role of pain in ascetic theological anthropology.

Michael Potts, Methodist University, “Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Mind Reading, and the Soul”

If “mind reading” through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is possible, it supports a physicalist view of the mind that opposes traditional Christian theology, limiting human beings to a deterministic matter/energy world with no room for the soul. It also replaces Cartesian “mind-body dualism” with a “brain-body dualism” in tension with Christianity’s emphasis on soul-body unity. Yet recent physiological evidence emphasizes the role the extracerebral body plays in human action and identity. “Mind reading” also falls into the same conceptual problems faced by physicalist systems: consciousness, qualia, intentionality, meaning, and creativity. fMRI brain scans, therefore, leave the soul untouched.

Mark Powell, Harding School of Theology, "Is God Essential to Sound Doctrine?”

The five-volume work Sound Doctrine, published in the first half of the 20th century, both reflects and has shaped theological reflection in Churches of Christ.  This paper compares the organization and presentation of theology in Sound Doctrine with the rules of faith and creedal statements of the early church from the 2nd-5th centuries.  The articulation and function of a Trinitarian vision of God in Sound Doctrine will be critically analyzed, and reflections on the future of Restoration theology and spirituality will be offered.

Will Powell, Duquesne University, “Reconciling Eiren: Parker’s Pentecost in the Chaos of “‘the Troubles.’”

Since the Government of Ireland Act in 1920, the six counties comprising the Ulster province of Northern Ireland have been the epicenter of debate and bloodshed. Before “the Troubles” a generation of great Irish authors including Yeats, Hyde, Shaw, and O’Crohan wrote attempting to articulate an identity for the Irish, but the result was a fragmented picture. This image became even more ambiguous with Northern Ireland’s inclusion with the United Kingdom. In his play, Pentecost, Northern Irish playwright, Stewart Parker uses the conflict of Irish identity in order to examine the chaotic landscape resulting from divisions between class and country.

James Prather, Abilene Christian University, “Matthew as Early Christian Liturgy: Qumran Pesharim and the Gospel”

There are many theories about the structure of Matthew and the logic behind the scriptural citations found within, many of which were developed before the vast majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) were published.  New approaches to Matthew's structure are being discussed by using the DSS pesharim as contemporary Jewish literature. This approach has not yet found a satisfactory answer to why Matthew would organize the text in such a manner.  By comparing the purpose of organization of other DSS pesharim, this paper suggests Matthew was organized as a Jewish liturgy for the early church.

William Price, Lipscomb University, “‘Transhuman’: A Discourse in Cybernetics and Christian Theology”

Transhumanism advocates the use of technology to not only enhance the human experience, but to enhance humanity itself, teleologically culminating in cybernetics, the ultimate fusion of man and technology. While an ethical response to such bio-enhancement is imperative, it is no easy task. This paper offers a foundation for conversation between transhumanism and Christianity, specifically focusing upon common themes between the philosophy of cybernetics and Christian theology. I present a comparative study, noting key similarities and distinctions among the two perspectives, while also revealing that Christians possess an alternative understanding of what it means to be “transhuman.”

Brad Reid, Lipscomb University, “Legal and Social Implications of Corporations as ‘Persons’”

Recent commentary has considered the legal and social implications of corporations as "persons." Capitalism has the ability to create legal entities that have a separate existence from owners. Starting in 1886 the U.S. Supreme Court began extending Constitutional rights guaranteed to persons to corporations. In contrast, there are four well-known legal rules -- alter ego, responsible corporate officer, direct participation, and respondeat superior -- that disregard corporate personhood to impose personal liability on shareholders and officers for corporate debts and torts. The author will discuss the legal history and the legal rights and limitations of corporate personhood.

Jim Reynolds, Lake Highlands Church, Dallas, Texas, “Theology as Political Discernment in Pastor Bonhoeffer”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the first in Germany to understand the negative implications of National Socialism and Hitler’s agenda. This lecture will consider several of the interpretive lenses Bonhoeffer used to articulate his resistance to the Reich and the Reich church. It will consider how Bonhoeffer’s Christology, ecclesiology, and ethics shaped his work as professor and pastor for the Confessing Church, and as a conspirator against the Reich. It will also ask how Bonhoeffer might help us discern the challenge of the contemporary church’s calling in a social and cultural climate that would marginalize a biblical worldview.

Ralph Richardson, Hope Harbor, “Reconciling Youth in Residential Care to Their Families”

This work will explore available research regarding both positive and negative potential effects of reconciliation of children and teens with family when family connections have been damaged or severed, evidence-based and other commonly used approaches to dealing with issues of family reconciliation, and areas in need of further research.  A model of family reconciliation employed by Hope Harbor Children’s Home & Family Ministries in Claremore, Oklahoma will be described in detail, outcomes measurement regarding this model will be provided, and discussion of potential application of this model in other settings will be presented.

Matthew A. Roberson, Faulkner University, “Lessons Learned from the ‘Immorality and Profaneness’ of the Stage: Issues Concerning Morality and Censorship in Christian Theater Education”

With his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage in 1698, the clergyman Jeremy Collier ignited a firestorm that waged for the next three decades.  Though most audiences of plays produced in Christian colleges would disagree with (and perhaps laugh at) Collier’s invective, many nonetheless are uncomfortable with Christian students embodying sinful characters. This paper examines the tensions in Christian education that result from the representation of sin onstage and proposes principles for navigating the resulting controversies and learning from those tensions. 

Daniel Rodriguez, Pepperdine University, “Intergenerational Ministry among Hispanics in Light of A Future for the Latino Church”

Conventional Spanish-speaking ministry models are unintentionally designed to preserve the language and cultural preferences of foreign-born Latinos. Sadly, this is usually done at the expense of their U.S.-born English-dominant children and grandchildren. Though they represent more than 60 percent of all Latinos in this country, U.S.-born Latinos, especially those who are English dominant, have been largely ignored by denominational and local church leaders who uncritically equate “Hispanic ministry” with “Spanish- language ministry.” The multigenerational ministry models described in this paper are not only helping Hispanic churches reach more Latinos, they are also enabling the church to become dynamically multicultural.

Cynthia Roper, Abilene Christian University, “A Look at Women and Their Roles as Portrayed in Church of Christ Periodicals”

The purpose of this research is to begin an exploratory examination of how women and their roles in Churches of Christ have been portrayed in selected Church of Christ periodicals over the past 50 years.  Specifically, this research will utilize content analysis to discover how women and their roles within churches of Christ have been represented, the nature of that representation, and whether and/or how these representations have changed over time.  The two periodicals which have been chosen for the initial analysis are the Gospel Advocate and the Firm Foundation.

Clare K. Rothschild, Lewis University, “Maladies of the Soul: Crisis Preparation in Galen's De Indolentia

The long-lost treatise De indolentia is a letter from Galen in which he describes how he responded to the fire that destroyed much of his library and medicines in 192 C.E.  Three times in the text the word φαντασ?αι (translated “imaginative faculties”) occurs. Although this translation may capture what Galen recommends in the letter as a whole—namely that human beings can avoid distress by using the imagination to envisage crises before they happen, it is vague about the psychological apparatus controlling the operation. The task of this essay is to understand this apparatus by surveying relevant philosophical background.

Rob Salley, Sunnybrook Children’s Home, “Aiding Youth at Risk in Reconciliation with Self”

For our youth at risk to become reconciled to self, several issues have to be addressed.  Relevant benchmarks, the youth’s ability to be self-aware, and their motivation for such an endeavor are just a few.   Within this short discussion, several developmental models with be exposed that might aid in the process.  Factors in increasing the level of self-awareness and the depth of the young person’s motivation to engage in such a pursuit will also be addressed.  A possible tool to aid a staff person in working with appropriate youth will be introduced.

Beth Barton Schweiger, University of Arkansas, “The Very Civil Convictions of Ed Harrell.”

This paper considers briefly how David Edwin Harrell’s work has extended our understanding of the history of religion in the American South before turning to describe a fascinating anomaly in his thought. Although a primitivist of firmest conviction, Harrell is deeply curious about people who are quite different from himself.  The odd pairing of primitivism and curiosity sets him apart from both his own tradition and from the liberal academy in which he made his career.  It is his ability to hold these views in tension that has made his work so valuable to members of both institutions.

Nathan Shank, University of Kentucky, “God of the Gaps: Reconciling Christianity with the Consciousness Impasse”

A theological understanding of the mind contrasts with leading theories of consciousness from philosophy of mind, represented by John Searle and Daniel Dennett.  These secular views offer insufficient accounts of cognition because they reduce it to either a pattern or a structure.   My presentation aims to reconcile them with the theological perspective of a God-breathed consciousness. Drawing on Christian commentators, such as Marilynne Robinson, and narrative theorists, such as Alan Palmer, I propose that a Christian “God of the gaps” argument helps clarify both the insufficiency of current theories of consciousness and the inscrutability of our profound human subjectivity.

David Skelton, Abilene Christian University, “Divine Justice, Divine Pantheon: Developing a Theoprepes Framework from the Hebrew Bible”

Theoprepes, or what is befitting for the divine, is not solely a concern of Hellenistic philosophy. Rather, for the writers of the Old Testament, theoprepes was a significant dilemma that involved at least two central issues: (1) whether or not God's actions were befitting of a just ruler, and (2) if it was it befitting for God to surround Godself with a divine pantheon. In this paper, I will examine a variety of passages in order to ascertain how the writers of the Old Testament wrested with a significant theological problem and in doing so, gain a better understanding of theological reflection in ancient Israel.

Mark Sneed, Lubbock Christian University, “Discerning Ecclesiastes’ Utopian World”

Assuming that dystopias ultimately and simultaneously reflect utopian impulses, this paper will explore what would be the perfect world if it weren’t so imperfect, according to Ecclesiastes. Drawing on the theories of Adorno and Hinkelammert, the utopian impulses of Ecclesiastes will be discerned and mapped out. This world will be delineated in relation to humanity’s “reconciliation” with God, as well as reconciliation within humanity. This enterprise will then enable a hermeneutical exploration of how a book so bleak and cynical can still find relevance for Christians today.

Mark Sneed, Lubbock Christian University, “Femmes Fatales and Flawed Females in the Ancient Near East”

The oldest femme fatale story goes back to the Ugaritic story (13th century bce) of Aqhat, which includes a female character Paghat, who uses her female wiles to slay the murderer of her brother. This ancient story is remarkably similar to those of Jael (Judg 4-5) and Judith. These women appear to employ morally dubious means to bring about justice. Do the ends justify the means? Other biblical women use similar suspicious tactics (Tamar, Esther, etc.). This paper will attempt to explain why the questionable actions of these characters would have been perceived as ultimately pious by the original audiences.

Brian Starr, Lubbock Christian University, “Capitalism and Populism:  How Business Can Regain the Public Trust”

The recent Occupy Wall Street movement highlights the divide between social classes.  While the movement often lacked cohesive themes, the protests resonated with anger against the economically privileged (represented by the business sector) and the supposed oppression they foist upon the common man.  This paper seeks to examine the fallacious and valid critiques levied towards business. Ill-informed critiques include the notion that the economic pie is fixed and that business unilaterally caused the recent economic crisis.  Valid critiques include anger at excessive executive pay and frustration with Wall Street bailouts.  The paper proposes steps that business can take towards reconciliation.

Jeffrey Stayton, The University of Mississippi, “Reconciliation through Violence: Southern Gothic Meets Spanish Baroque in the Career of Cormac McCarthy”

Cormac McCarthy infuses classic gravitas from an epic lineage and regional genius into contemporary prose. In novels such as The Orchard Keeper; Outer Dark; Child of God; Suttree; Blood Meridian; All the Pretty Horses; The Crossing; Cities of the Plain; No Country for Old Men; and the Road, McCarthy creates both Southern and Southwestern worlds with an apocalyptic vision that seeks reconciliation with God through violence. According to Kenneth Lincoln, McCarthy “chronicles the search for justice and redemption with tragic sorrow and heroic stoicism.” My essay reads McCarthy’s ten novels as a testament to reconciliation through graphic violence.

Jeffrey Stayton, The University of Mississippi, “Smoky Mountain Breakdown: Reconciliation with AIDS in Abraham Verghese’s My Own Country

In the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City had somehow managed to live outside of modern American life until the local hospital treats its first AIDS patient on August 11, 1985. This epidemic that had once seemed an exclusively urban problem shows no signs of leaving. Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases, became the local AIDS expert. My essay reads Verghese’s memoir, My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story (1995), as an intriguing contact zone where the dominant Appalachian myths in Southern literature meet and sometimes clash with Verghese’s narrative of disease. 

Wayne Stengel, University of Central Arkansas, “Terrence Malick’s Layering of Reconciliation in The Tree of Life

More than any of his previous films, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life divides critics, many of whom find it indecipherable. However, seen as a summing-up of diverse components of Malick’s career, the jarring strains of the film become more coherent and unified. In fact, the film recalls themes and techniques from Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, and The New World. Thus, while exploring the subject of reconciliation at several levels in this film, Malick also attempts to reconcile the mind, body, and spirit of his art by an audacious juxtaposition of ideas, landscapes, and transcendental imagery.

Barry Stephens, Monterey Church of Christ, Lubbock, TX, “Managing Transition and Change in the Congregational Environment”

Research, from a systems perspective, clearly indicates that the most difficult thing for a system to experience is change.  At one level, church leaders must manage the conflict and anxiety that come with the inevitable changes and transitions of congregational life.  From another perspective, effective church leaders also initiate change and transition as they seek to lead their churches in honoring God’s mission for the church.  This paper will draw from research in systems thinking, and from a biblical theology of conflict, to propose a process to guide church leaders in effectively leading and managing major congregational transitions.

Robert Stewart, Texas Tech University, “On Quantifying the Qualities of Spirituality: The Apparent Influence of Context on Measurement”

In this paper we will consider some of the common and unique dimensions or qualities of spirituality identified in studies that have developed measures of spirituality. We will then examine how the context of study (e.g., healthcare, workplace, family) shapes operationalizations of the qualities of spirituality. An aim of the paper will be to question whether spirituality, in the ways it is measured, is context dependent or context general.

John Struloeff, Pepperdine University, “Tolstoy and the Complexities of Reconciliation in Anna Karenina”

Leo Tolstoy developed an array of characters in Anna Karenina, allowing us to see his complex notions of society, in particular the ways in which people change when interacting with one another.  Many of the characters – most intensely Konstantin Levin and Anna Karenina herself – find themselves yearning for reconciliation within both their relationships with others and their spiritual beliefs but are frustrated by the desires and actions of others.  This paper explores this complex progression in relation to Tolstoy’s own spiritual changes while writing Anna Karenina.

Trevor W. Thompson, Abilene Christian University, “The Leaping Fetus (Luke 1:41, 44): The in utero Baptist and Greco-Roman Theories of Fetal Development”

Philosophers and physicians in the Greco-Roman world offered different opinions concerning the gestation period of a human and the nature of the fetus. The depiction of the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy in the Gospel According to Luke (e.g., fetal recognition with response and the mother's understanding of the fetus) connects with views about the fetus in the Greco-Roman world. This paper seeks to locate the description in Luke among the diverging theories of fetal development in this period.

Jennifer Jeanine Thweatt-Bates, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, “Feminism, Religion, Science & Technology: _Cyborg Selves_”

What is the ‘posthuman’? Is becoming posthuman inevitable—something which will happen to us, or something we will do to ourselves? Why do some long for it, while others fearfully reject it? In fact, it is not a single idea but a jumble of competing visions—some of which may be exciting, some of which may be frightening. Which is which depends on who you are, and what you desire to be. For Christians, the question is also a theological one: how do these visions of the future align with Christian hope for the transformation of self and cosmos?

Jennifer Jeanine Thweatt-Bates, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, “Not Without the Others: Volf and Haraway on Gendered Humanity”

How can we construct a theological perspective on gender that avoids both the “oppositional logic of the same” (Irigaray) and the complete dissolution of the self into the other? Volf proposes a theological construction of gender based upon Trinitarian relations, in which each gender must be understood as “not without the other.” Donna Haraway’s cyborg figure also negotiates this issue, yet moves decisively beyond the categorical gender binary, suggesting more complex, fluid, and plural possibilities for construction of gender. This may, in the end, be a more consistent application of the Trinitarian relationships at the heart of Volf’s proposal.

Holly DeBoard Towers, Christian Services of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, “Adaptation of Existing Infrastructures for Support of Foster Care Families”

Outcomes for children in foster care vary from state to state. One of the significant challenges of the primarily publicly-run Oklahoma Child Welfare System has been to recruit a sufficient number of qualified foster parents for children in state custody. Christian Services of Oklahoma has partnered with the state of Oklahoma in a unique role to provide foster homes for some of these young children. This program utilizes the foster family’s own natural support system to ensure their ability to deal with the difficult demands of foster care. In addition, the Christian Services of Oklahoma model provides extensive additional support services to foster families.

Bobby Valentine, Palo Verde Church of Christ, Tucson, Arizona, “R. L. Whiteside and C. R. Nichol: Molders of Twentieth Century Church of Christ Theology”

R. L. Whiteside appears infrequently in the histories of the 20th century Churches of Christ yet he may have been one of the most influential persons of the time. Through his teaching, preaching, and especially his writing Whiteside cast a distinctive approach to Christianity that became the identity for mainline Churches of Christ for much of the century. Through his books, Sound Doctrine and Commentary on Romans, he gave preachers and lay people the framework from which to read the Bible and to image the church.

Jeanine Varner, Abilene Christian University, “Bailey B. McBride:  Reflections on a Life”

Dr. Bailey B. McBride, an extraordinarily gifted English professor, writer, and academic administrator, has served Oklahoma Christian University, its students, and its faculty since 1966.  In that time, he has mentored countless students in profound and powerful ways. Using the reflections of the minister John Ames in Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead, this paper reflects on the lasting contributions Bailey has made to his students, to Christian higher education, and to the church.  Further, it suggests how important his contributions may be for the future of our universities.

Matthew Vaughan, Union Theological Seminary, “Reconciling with the Religious Other: Resources for a Restoration Theology of World Religions”

Taking the religiously plural context of the United States as a starting point, this essay asks the question: what resources do Churches of Christ have to begin articulating a restoration theology of religions? The essay begins by critically reflecting on Frederick Norris’s often-neglected “Theological Resources for Response to Pluralism from Christian Churches/Churches of Christ,” and then moves into an exploration of as-of-yet unaddressed resources from within Churches of Christ, in particular the restoration plea, a high view of scripture, ecclesiologically-centered inquiry, and an open pneumatology.

Juanie Walker, Pepperdine University, “Convicted Civility as Communication Ethic”

This essay approaches the theme of reconciliation from the perspective of Richard Mouw’s (2010) Uncommon Decency in which he argues that engaging in a polemic of either relativist or crusader is as common among Christians as others. His “third way” of convicted civility—with central qualities of empathy, curiosity, and teachability—is examined as a communication ethic that draws on virtues-based ethics and a dialogic stance, including Mikhail Bakhtin’s notions of addressivity and answerability among centripetal and centrifugal forces. Recommendations are made for ways to teach and examine convicted civility.

Lauren Smelser White, Vanderbilt University, “Reconciling ‘Inerrant’ and ‘Errant’ Scripture: The Re-Interpretation Principle”

This essay creates a theological/hermeneutical impetus for re-reading “problem” passages of the Bible concerning women’s identity by drawing from the work of Dante Alighieri, Julia Kristeva, and Larry Bouchard. I suggest that readers should work to account for what Bouchard describes as scriptural errancy, considering that uncomfortable tensions in scripture may be extant for the sake of being retained rather than eliminated. Such ambiguity may open new potentialities and actualities for conservative Christian women.

Jason Whitt, Associate Director for the Institute of Faith and Learning, Baylor University, “Embracing the Other: Reconciliation and Persons with Profound Intellectual Disability”

I propose to apply Miroslav Volf’s account of reconciliation in Exclusion and Embrace to the relationship between the disabled and the able-bodied. I will examine the idea of the naming of the profoundly intellectually disabled as other through Volf’s account of exclusion, using this understanding to challenge the accepted views of normalcy. Then, I will turn to Volf’s call for embrace and openness of one’s self to the other to offer a path forward for reconciliation with the profoundly disabled. The implication of reconciliation is a redefining of contemporary understandings of what it means to be human.

Mark Wiebe, Southern Methodist University, “Molina and Farrer on Providence and Libertarian Freedom”

As a part of his argument to uphold a strong view of providence and libertarian free will, Luis de Molina declares the created agent’s own particular experience of free action must be taken into account.  Several other thinkers echo this point. In the twentieth century, Austin Farrer’s work stands out as an explicit and extended defense of this claim. Focusing on the relevant material from Molina and Farrer, this study will explore and defend both the argument from conscious experience of choice to libertarian free will and consider some of the implications for Christian portrayals of divine providence.

Nathaniel Wiewora, University of Delaware, “'Every Age of the World Has Produced Imposters and Delusions’: The Stone-Campbellite Reaction to the Emergence of Mormonism”

Members of the Stone-Campbell tradition, like Alexander Campbell, had some of the earliest reactions to the appearance of Mormonism in antebellum America.  Overwhelmingly negative, they eviscerated the Book of Mormon as a man-made invention and they pointed out the excessive emotionalism of Mormon religious practices.  These early polemics reveal more than the emergence of an evangelical anti-Mormonism.  They reveal something deeper taking place within Stone-Campbell movement.  What was so galling about Mormonism to Campbell may have had less to do with difference than with seeing some of themselves in the nascent Mormon movement. 

Carolyn Wilson, Lipscomb University, “Beaman Library’s Holdings of Bagby Videotape Archives of Early Christian Resisters to the Hitler Regime” 

Beaman Library, through generous help from the Disciples of Christ Historical  Society and Dr. James Patrick Kelley, now holds the collection of more than 120 hours of interviews with forty three Germans who were allied with Bonhoeffer’s resistance movement against the Nazi regime. Now in digital format, these tapes are currently being made accessible through the Beaman Library Special Collections web site.

Jonathan Witt, Acton Institute, “Poverty Cure: Reconciliation, Engagement, Enterprise”

This paper will relate findings from my interactions with some eighty global poverty fighters in my work on a documentary and website. Many urged a move from paternalism to partnerships and enterprise solutions to poverty. Others urged charities to stop presenting the poor as objects and emphasized that the poor are made in the image of God, stewards with creativity and potential. A key theme of the presentation is summed up by Mother Theresa: “We do not believe in class conflict but class encounter—where the rich save the poor and the poor save the rich.”

Jim Wright, Childhaven, Inc. “Review of a Successful Collaborative Venture Reconciling Foster Children and Birth Families”

Several years ago, Childhaven began a collaborative effort to serve at risk families through the in-home setting, working with four different agencies, secular and faith based.  This work will present the history, organizational structure, management styles, and outcomes.  The success of this endeavor (evidenced by outcome measure data) brought strategic questions concerning further collaborative efforts.  These questions range from practical issues such as funding, but also include how collaborations impact agency mission, and their present/future place in the context of agency history.

Michael R. Young, Faulkner University, “The Pedagogy of Silence”

The exercise of silence seems almost counter intuitive, or at least counter-productive, in a society with such ready-at- hand access to information of all kinds through technology. The practice of silence appears to be particularly against the grain in education where the applications of new technologies fill the classroom with sound and visual content. Can the spiritual exercise of silence, both exterior and interior, provide any valuable service to the task of learning? The hermeneutical insights from H. G. Gadamer and Paul Ricouer regarding how we come to understanding offer a few supportive connections of silence to learning.

Alvin Ray Yount, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, “Morality - Knowledge – Love:  A Consummate Homogenous Inception of Man”

This paper examines the essence of humanity, specifically the ability to establish a moral system of reciprocity in dealing with fellow humans, the ability to retrieve and process stored information, and the ability to demonstrate outward love toward fellow humans. This meta-analysis finds that morality, knowledge and love are at the core of humanity and that knowledge through communication, using books and stored electronic media dominate as prima-facie in the essence of humanness. This study concludes that people, today, are more human than their ancestors of yesteryear and that civilization has not yet reached its full potential of humanness.

Nicholas Zola, Baylor University, “The Blood that Speaks: The Legacy of Abel from Jewish to Christian Tradition”

One of the earliest biblical episodes calling for reconciliation is Cain’s murder of his brother Abel, when Yahweh declares, “What have you done? The voice of the blood of your brother is crying out to me from the ground” (Gen 4:10). Remarkably, the brothers never reappear in the Hebrew Bible, but the “blood of Abel” frequently resurfaces in the non-canonical Jewish literature of the Second Temple period and eventually in several New Testament documents. This paper traces Abel’s legacy from its Jewish beginnings to its Christian adoption, where Abel’s cry finally becomes a sign of the reconciliation to come. 


Panel Abstracts


"Abandoning the Pulpit: Why Ministers Are Saying, ‘No More!’?”
   Grady D. King, Hope Network Ministries, Convener
  • Dan Bouchelle, Executive Director, Missions Resource Network, Panelist
  • Bob Brewer, Consultant, Oxford Church of Christ, Oxford, MS, Panelist
  • David Jones, Jr., Senior Minister, Schrader Lane Church of Christ, Nashville, TN, Panelist
  • Pat Keifert, Luther Seminary and Church Innovations, St Paul, MN, Panelist
  • Dwight Robarts, Executive Director, Christ’s Haven Children’s Home, Panelist
  • Chris Smith, Senior Minister, Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, Nashville, TN, Panelist
  • Rob McRay, Executive Director, Youth Encouragement Services, Nashville, TN, Panelist

Why are ministers with education, experience and preaching gifts choosing to leave congregational ministry? Is it a phenomenon or a trend? Anecdotal evidence points to a trend not limited to one religious tribe. What are the implications? Statistically, Christian Universities have fewer students desiring to preach in established congregations. While the stories vary, common themes of church and culture, theological distance between pulpit and pew, calling, and church governance abound. This theologically diverse and interactive panel will explore the trend through testimonies, insights and dialog concerning present realities and future trajectories for ministry.


“Alleviation of Poverty as Reconciliation,”
   Phillip Camp, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • Russell Mask, Covenant College, Panelist
  • Ronald E. Peters, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, President, Urban Ministry: An Introduction, Panelist
  • Kelly S. Johnson, University of Dayton, The Fear of Beggars: Stewardship and Poverty In Christian Ethics, Panelist
  • Nathan Bills, Duke Divinity School, Panelist
  • Charles Strobel, Campus for Human Development, Nashville, Director, Panelist

In their 2009 book When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor, authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert argue, "Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation."  This panel will explore the biblical and theological relationship between ministering to the poor and reconciliation.  In what ways have past and current efforts at dealing with poverty failed to recognize or even generated alienation?  How can and should alleviating poverty move toward reconciliation?


“Authors: Reading Reconciliation”
   Forrest Anderson, Catawba College, Convener
  • Forrest Anderson, Catawba College, Panelist
  • John Struloeff, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Shann "Ray" Ferch, Gonzaga University, Panelist

This panel features three Christian Scholars’ Conference authors reading from their own recent creative works of poetry and fiction on the theme of reconciliation. Forrest Anderson will read from his story collection-in-progress, The World Beaten Flat. John Struloeff will read from his first poetry collection, The Man I Was Supposed to Be, along with several new poems. Shann Ray will read from American Masculine, his collection of short stories, winner of the Bakeless Prize and critically acclaimed by Esquire, Kirkus Reviews, and the American Library Association.


“Beyond Boyer: Integration of Faith and Learning at the Christian University”
   Jeff McCormack, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • Paul J. Contino, Editor, Christianity and Literature, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Nancy Shankle, Abilene Christian University, Panelist
  • Jon Lowrance, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Barbara McMillin, Union University, Panelist

The integration of faith and learning must be the central tenet of all Christian Universities.  However, with the rise of secularization and specialized professional educational programs, Christian higher education is challenged to avoid the duality that establishes a chasm between head and heart knowledge. The 2012 Beyond Boyer panel discussion session will explore the ongoing efforts of the integration of faith and learning as it impacts scholarship. Scholars will explore together innovative and effective methods for integrating faith and learning. In addition there will be an emphasis on transdisciplinary approaches to learning which incorporate faith into the process.


“The Bible Made Possible: Creative Bible Teaching For Undergraduates”
   John York, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • Mark Lanier, Lanier Theological Library, Teaching  ‘Reconciliation and the Fall of Israel!’ to a 21st-Century Audience”
  • Jason Bembry, Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Respondent
  • Candice McQueen, Lipscomb University, Respondent
  • John Monson, Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Respondent

The information explosion and unprecedented media access for students have placed increasing demands upon those teaching Scripture to students of all ages.  Some suggest that the “Sage on the Stage” must be transformed into the “Guide on the Side.”  In this session, Mark Lanier will explain the basis for, and then demonstrate his method of teaching that attracts 700+ people to a Sunday morning Bible class, while attending to details of Biblical scholarship, technology, and passion for the Story of God in Scripture.


“Bruce Marshall on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian.” An Address to the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Church of Christ Theology Students.
   David Mahfood, Southern Methodist University, Convener
  • Bruce Marshall, Southern Methodist University, “The Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian.”
  • Matt Tapie, The Catholic University of America, Respondent

For the past few years, the Church of Christ Theology Students Group has heard from scholars such as Dr. Gregory Sterling and Dr. David Bentley Hart on matters related to understanding the nature and task of theology in the contemporary context as members of Church of Christ. In particular, recent discussions have focused on the relationship between scripture and theology. This year, systematic and historical theologian Dr. Bruce Marshall will address another aspect of the broader question, specifically the role played by ecclesial location and commitment in understanding the theologian’s task.

Sponsored by Lipscomb University’s Hazelip School of Theology, Pepperdine University, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Oklahoma Christian University’s Graduate School of Theology, and Lubbock Christian University. Open to call conference attendees.


“Can Abraham’s Children Be Reconciled?: A Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Discussion"
   John Barton, Rochester College, Convener
  • Saeed Khan, Wayne State University, Panelist
  • Mark Kinzer, Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (Ann Arbor, MI), Panelist
  • Miroslav Volf, Yale University Divinity School, Panelist

Many of today’s significant geopolitical challenges surface along the borders of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Religion is not the only category through which to understand geopolitical issues, but Jewish/Christian/Muslim interactions certainly play a vital role when considering phenomena such as the “war on terror,” tensions along the “tenth parallel,” the continuing struggles in the Middle East, the Arab Spring, and the dramatic growth of Islam in Europe and North America.  Interacting with Miroslav Volf and his work in reconciliation studies and Christian/Muslim interactions, a Muslim scholar and a Messianic Jewish scholar will explore the possibilities and challenges of reconciliation among Abraham’s children.


“Can an Economics Textbook Be Christian? A Response to Shawn Ritenour’s Foundations of Economics”
   Jason Jewell, Faulkner University
  • Jeffrey Herbener, Grove City College, Panelist
  • Lucas Engelhardt, Kent State University-Stark, Panelist
  • Richard Grant, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Joel Olbricht, Olbricht Storniolo Group, Panelist
  • Shawn Ritenour, Grove City College (Author), Respondent

College-level textbooks that treat their discipline from a specifically Christian perspective are a rarity, particularly among the sciences. Shawn Ritenour’s Foundations of Economics (2010), a full-length survey text, attempts to provide a Christian basis for the study of economics through, among other things, discussion of epistemology and the cultural mandate of Genesis 1. This panel will assess the degree to which Prof. Ritenour has succeeded.


"A Community of Reconciliation: Hope in a Retributive Context"
   Richard Goode, Lipscomb University, Convener
(Note: This session will meet at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. Attendance limited to 20. Those wishing to attend the session must notify Richard Goode at by May 11, 2012.)
  • Jeannie Alexander, Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, Chaplain, Panelist
  • Jody Lewen, Patten University at San Quentin, Executive Director of the Prison University Project, Panelist
  • Residents of Riverbend, Panelists

The prison-industrial complex is one of our most retributive institutions in contemporary society.  This year, for example, the U.S. will spend billions to exact vengeance upon millions. Where does this punitive ethic come from, and can we live otherwise? Might prisons become communities of reconciliation rather than institutions of retribution? If so, how? How might we transform a retributive institution into a community of reconciliation?


“Cross Currents of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Justice: Considerations from post-Genocide Rwanda and Select Legal Discourse in the United States”
   Cherry Houston, Independent Scholar, Convener
  • James Kimonyo, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to the United States, “The Rwandan Genecide: Cause to Revisit and advance the ancient traditional style of the Gacaca  courts to resolve conflicts”
  • John Barton, Rochester College, “Confusion and Communion: Christian Mission and Ethnic Identities in Post-Genocide Rwanda”
  • Richard H. Dinkins, Judge, Middle Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, “Reflections on ‘Tennessee Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy v. Vanderbilt University, Court of Appeals – State of Tennessee’”
  • Fred D. Gray, Decorated Civil Rights Lawyer and Senior Partner at Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray, Gray & Nathanson  P.C., Respondent

This session explores reconciliation strategies that strengthen unity, good governance, and social justice. Judge Richard Dinkins reflects on the decision to change the name from “Confederate” to “Memorial Hall” in the decision, “Tennessee Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy v. Vanderbilt University, Court of Appeals – State of Tennessee.” Rwandan advancement of the ancient traditional style of the Gacacacourts to resolve conflicts. John Barton explores the implications of Christian mission for socio-political and ethnic identities in post-genocide Rwanda. Decorated Civil Rights Attorney, Fred D. Gray, will provide trajectories for consideration and conversation.


“Core Values for Faith-Based Reconciliation,”
   Evertt W. Huffard, Harding School of Theology, Convener
  • Brian Cox, International Center for Religion in Diplomacy, “Faith-Based Reconciliation: Touching the Heart at the Global Level”
  • Evertt W. Huffard, Harding School of Theology, “A Theology of Faith-Based Reconciliation”
  • Tim Pownall, Pepperdine University, “Core Values and the Human Heart”
  • Shaun Casey, Wesley Seminary, “Political Theology and the Prospect for Peace”

Reconciliation in the Middle East faces many challenges, especially in the tension between territorial theology and contemporary injustices. Christian Zionists apply prophetic texts from the Old Testament to current events in the land without reflection on the view of Jesus toward the land. Burge argues that the words of the prophets, the perspective of Jesus in the Gospels and the views of Paul all yield a story about a God seeking to reconcile all creation rather than reclaiming a territory. The panel will address the prophetic issues and contemporary challenges to Arab Christians in the land.


“Deferred Hope and Fulfilled Longing: Questions of Reconciliation in Terrence Malick’s film The Tree of Life
   John Williams, Harding University, Convener
  • Gail Hamner, Syracuse University, “Eating from the Tree of Life Outside Eden”
  • Donna Moore King, Lipscomb University, “Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life: Conflict and Reconciliation in Musical Narrative”
  • Wayne Stengel, University of Central Arkansas, “Terrence Malick’s Layering of Reconciliation in The Tree of Life
  • Nick Boone, Harding University, Respondent

The title of Terrence Malick’s fifth film, The Tree of Life, may be found in an Old Testament passage suggesting the grand theme of reconciliation embedded in and flowing out of the human response to God’s elusive presence: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). With dazzling but controversial technique, Malick explores in diverse contexts the heart-sickness of alienation and the sweetness of reconciliation as twin poles of human existence. In the process he challenges viewers to reconcile the use of film, typically an entertainment medium, for philosophical or religious exploration.


“Doctors, Medicine, and Christian Origins
   Richard Wright, Oklahoma Christian University, Convener
  • Troy W. Martin, Saint Xavier University, “Particular Perspectives on Peritome (Circumcision) by Physicians, Philosophers, Philo, and Paul”
  • Clare K. Rothschild, Lewis University, “Maladies of the Soul: Crisis Preparation in Galen's De Indolentia
  • Trevor W. Thompson, Abilene Christian University, “The Leaping Fetus (Luke 1:41, 44): The In Utero Baptist and Greco-Roman Theories of Fetal Development”
  • Christopher R. Hutson, Abilene Christian University, Respondent

Early Christian texts are replete with references to health, suffering, disease, illness, pain, healing, and treatment. Amidst renewed international interest in the practice and theory of ancient medicine, scholars of early Christian literature are taking a new look at old texts. The papers presented in this session will explore how insights into ancient medicine open new windows for thinking about and understanding early Christian views of the body and the mind.


“Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Work”
   Jeremy Elliott, Abilene Christian University, Convener.
  • Jonathan Reinhardt, University of Chicago, “’As My Whimsey Takes Me’: Villainy and Its Discontents in Dorothy L. Sayers”
  • Heather Weidner, University of Virginia, “The Honorable Way Out: Dorothy Sayers sees justice served”
  • Chris Willerton, Abilene Christian University, “Reading Dante in the Bomb Shelter: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Dangerous Twentieth Century”

This panel is a look at the work of Inklings affiliate Dorothy L. Sayers in three primary contexts: how her work deals with the violent realities of the 20th century, a complex look at her notion of villainy, and finally, how Sayers deals with the idea of justice.  By discussing both internal struggles within her work as well as the external pressures she experienced as she wrote, this panel hopes to provide an appropriately broad look at the life and work of this too infrequently discussed writer.


“The End of the Wicked: God, Hell, and Reconciliation”
   Brandon L. Fredenburg, Lubbock Christian University, Convener
  • Edward Fudge, Independent Scholar, The Fire That Consumes, 2011
  • Thomas Talbott, Willamette University, Emeritus, The Inescapable Love of God, 1999
  • Jerry L. Walls, Houston Baptist University, Hell: The Logic of Damnation, 1992; Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation, 2011
In recent years, a number of Christian writers have reconsidered the biblical, historical, theological, and philosophical foundations of hell as “everlasting conscious torment.” Together for the first time, our three authors share their concerns and discuss each others’ proposals. Edward Fudge (Churches of Christ) presents “conditional immortality”: after the resurrection, God grants the righteous immortality and eventually annihilates the wicked. Thomas Talbott (Evangelical) explains that God’s judgment is necessarily redemptive, not retributive, and culminates in “universal reconciliation.” Finally, Jerry Walls (Wesleyan) explores how “unending conscious misery” is compatible with God’s desire to save all people. After the presentations, Brandon Fredenburg will facilitate an interactive discussion.


"Envisioning a Restorative Criminal Justice"
   Richard Goode, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • Sujatha Baliga, National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Panelist
  • Preston Shipp, Board of Professional Responsibility for the Supreme Court of Tennessee, Panelist
  • Walter Taylor, University of Texas at Dallas, Panelist
  • Janet Wolf, American Baptist College, Professor of Church and Society, Panelist

Traditional criminal justice models are designed for the prosecution and punishment of offenders. History suggests, however, that such retributive practices have served society poorly. Although we aspire to reconciliation and healing, our criminal justice system exacerbates the alienation and marginalization of both victims and offenders. Panelists will investigate one component or practice of the current criminal justice system, diagnose the logic behind the practice or policy, assess its record, and offer a restorative response.


“Evaluating an Interactive Web Bibliography for Church Leaders”
   Eddie Randolph, Harding School of Theology, Convener
  • Carlus Gupton, Johnson University and Harding School of Theology, “Presenting a Web Interactive Bibliography for Scholar-Practitioners and Ministry Academics”
  • Jim Miller, Harding University, Respondent
  • John Harrison, Oklahoma Christian University, Respondent
  • Chris Smith, Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, Pulpit Minister, Respondent

This session focuses on the culmination of a five-year project to provide an interactive web bibliography on church leadership.  It features resource guides to ministry concerns, covering trajectories of practical theology, congregational leadership and renewal, and leadership development.  It also includes over 1,000 substantive book summaries, and hundreds more books categorized by subject.  It is designed for practitioners in church ministry, college and seminary students, and class use by college and seminary level professors of ministry. This session will present the site, followed by evaluation from scholars in web/mass media, ministry practice, and ministry training.


   Whitney Vaughn, Playwright, Lipscomb University
  • Sawyer Wallace, Director, Lipscomb University
  • Erin Randolph, Stage Manager, Lipscomb University
  • Mike Fernandez, Playwriting Mentor, Lipscomb University
  • Beki Baker, Directing Mentor, Lipscomb University
Exposure, winner of the 2011 CSC playwriting competition, is about a high school counselor’s attempt to reconcile two female students who have tried to destroy each other through social media.  This riveting story reveals the pervasive quality of social media and the damaging effects of a lack of parental guidance. Two performances will be staged during the CSC: Wednesday, 7 PM & Thursday, 2 PM, both in Shamblin Theatre.  A diverse panel of guests from psychology, theatre, religion, communication and conflict management will provide panel response, each from his or her area of expertise (Friday, 2 PM, Shamblin Theatre).


“Forgiving But Not Forgetting: Lessons from Immaculée Ilibagiza’s Left to Tell: One Woman’s Story of Surviving the Rwandan Holocaust
   Darryl Tippens, Pepperdine University, Convener
  • Lindy Adams, Christian Chronicle, former Senior Associate Editor, Panelist
  • John Barton, Rochester College, Panelist
  • Nancy Magnusson Durham, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Jay Milbrandt, Pepperdine University, Panelist

From the vantage points of history, law, theology, psychology, and personal experience, four readers respond to Immaculée Iligagiza’s autobiography as they consider such questions as these: What are the limits and possibilities of forgiveness in the face of overwhelming evil? How does evil change us? What does God expect of us in the shadow of genocide? What is the role of memory in finding healing after great trauma? What is the path to wholeness after tragedy? Members of the audience will be invited to pose questions and offer insights after hearing from the panelists.


“The Future of Christian Higher Education: People, Pedagogy, and Partnerships”
   Mimi Barnard, Belmont University
  • Gregory E. Sterling, Dean of the Graduate School, Yale University Divinity School, Panelist
  • John B. Weaver, Dean of Library Services and Educational Technology at Abilene Christian University, Panelist
  • Darryl Tippens, Provost, Pepperdine University, Panelist

This session will address three critical components of higher education—people, pedagogy, and partnerships. Notre Dame’s Greg Sterling will discuss how one major university has attempted to wrestle with the promotion of academic quality and the constitution of the key constituents. Passionate about preserving pedagogy, Pepperdine’s Darryl Tippens will address the assessment movement’s reductionism, proposing that faculty must take assessment and accrediting agencies seriously but that assessors must also be held accountable. And Abilene Christian’s John Weaver will survey entrepreneurial partnerships at Christian universities, from engagement with individual donors and non-profit foundations, to relationship with for-profit organizations.


“Honoring a Master of His Craft:  A Festschrift for David Edwin Harrell, Jr.”
   Richard Hughes, Messiah College, Convener
  • Charles Reagan Wilson, University of Mississippi, “David Edwin Harrell Jr. and the Broadening of Southern Religious Studies”
  • Richard Hughes, Messiah College, “David Edwin Harrell Jr. and the History of the Stone-Campbell Tradition”
  • Beth Barton Schweiger, University of Arkansas, “The Very Civil Convictions of Ed Harrell.”
  • David Edwin Harrell, Jr., Auburn University, Emeritus, Respondent

Over the course of a remarkable career, David Edwin Harrell Jr. has made extraordinary contributions to the history of religion in the American South, writing definitive books and essays on Southern religion broadly conceived, on the Stone-Campbell Tradition, on Pentecostalism, and more.  In this session, the following FS contributors will present portions of their essays: Charles Reagan Wilson, “David Edwin Harrell Jr. and the Broadening of Southern Religious Studies”; Richard Hughes, “David Edwin Harrell Jr. and the History of the Stone-Campbell Tradition” ; and Beth Barton Schweiger, “The Very Civil Convictions of Ed Harrell.” Harrell will respond to each presentation.


“Inquiries into Alexander Campbell as a Philosopher of Religion,”
   John Mark Hicks, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • Caleb Clanton, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Jonathan Atkins, Berry College, Panelist
  • John Mark Hicks, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Kraig Martin, Baylor University, Panelist

Well known as a founder in the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, scholars have generally overlooked Alexander Campbell as a creative philosopher.  This session will react to themes in Caleb Clanton’s forthcoming book The Philosophy of Alexander Campbell, which reconstructs and evaluates the main contours of Campbell’s philosophy of religion.  Reviewers will explore Campbell’s place in America’s early national intellectual history, as well as his unique philosophical arguments on the existence of God, miracles, the problem of evil, the problem of divine hiddenness, and Campbell’s understanding of the relationship between religion and morality.


“Inside Christian Higher Education: Engaging a Major New Research Report”
   C. Leonard Allen, Abilene Christian University, Convener
   Session I: “An Introduction to the Research Project”
  • Samuel Joeckel and Thomas Chesnes, Palm Beach Atlantic University, An Introduction to the Research Project and an Overview of the Book”
  • Samuel Joeckel, “The Slippery Slope: Are Christian Colleges in Danger of Secularization?”
  • Larry Long, Harding University, Respondent
  • Craig Bledsoe, Lipscomb University, Respondent
“Inside Christian Higher Education: Engaging a Major New Research Report”
   C. Leonard Allen, Abilene Christian University, Convener
   Session II:  “Faith, Scholarship, and Academic Freedom”
  • Joe Ricke, Taylor University, “The Tightrope Act of Christian Scholarship”
  • Daniel Russ, Gordon College, “Security, Risk, and Academic Freedom”
  • Darryl Tippens, Pepperdine University, Respondent
  • Candace McQueen, Lipscomb University, Respondent
“Inside Christian Higher Education: Engaging a Major New Research Report”
   C. Leonard Allen, Abilene Christian University, Convener
   Session III: “The Challenge of Race and Gender in Christian Higher Education”
  • Samuel Joeckel and Thomas Chesnes, Palm Beach Atlantic University, “Introduction”
  • Alvaro Nieves, Wheaton College, “Race and Ethnicity in CCCU Institutions”
  • Elizabeth Lewis Hall, Rosemead School of Psychology, “Gender Equity at CCCU Institutions”
  • Norma Burgess, Lipscomb University, Respondent
  • Greg Straughn, Abilene Christian University, Respondent

Three sessions will engage an important new book, The Christian College Phenomenon: Inside America’s Fastest Growing Institutions of Higher Learning, (ACU Press, 2012), which explores the explosive growth over the last twenty years of the 110 institutions affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Responding to extensive survey data from faculty and students, nearly thirty scholars address faith and learning, campus culture, the in-loco-parentis model, academic freedom, racial/ethnic diversity, gender equity, and evolution. In these sessions Church of Christ Deans and Provosts will interact with authors and editors in three sessions, with specific respondents assigned from the pool of attendees from the Deans’ Conference.


“Is the Devil in the Details?: Faith and Film in Hell and Mr. Fudge
   Ted Parks, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • Edward Fudge, Independent Scholar, Panelist
  • John Williams, Harding University, Panelist
  • David Langford, Quaker Avenue Church of Christ, Lubbock, TX, Panelist
  • Wes Driver, Blackbird Theater, Nashville, TN, Panelist

Theologian Robert K. Johnston argues that popular film – “secular” cinema -- not only offers insight into mainstream culture, but illumines Christian faith. But what happens when a movie features an unquestionably Christian protagonist, is set in a specifically Christian context, even builds its conflict around Christian doctrine? In a companion session to the screening of the 2012 feature Hell and Mr. Fudge, panelists will explore theological themes in the film, analyze how the movie's narrative and form communicate them, and inquire into the role of explicitly Christian content in a medium consumed by believers and unbelievers alike.


Major Book Review: “Prospects for Muslim-Christian Dialogue in the United States: A Critique of Lee C. Camp’s “Who Is My Enemy?: Questions American Christians Must Face about Islam – and Themselves (Brazos, 2011)”
   Ted A. Smith, Vanderbilt University, Convener
  • Amir M. Arain, Vanderbilt University, Reviewer
  • William J. Abraham, Southern Methodist University, Reviewer
  • Shaun Casey, Wesley Theological Seminary, Reviewer
  • C. Melissa Snarr, Vanderbilt University, Reviewer
  • Lee C. Camp, Lipscomb University, Respondent

Some American Christians see Islam as fundamentally violent in ways that Christianity is not.  Others see Islam and Christianity as two expressions of the same universal love of neighbor.  Lee Camp argues against both views in Who Is My Enemy?  Questions American Christians Must Face About Islam – and Themselves.  Camp stresses the difference between Islam and Christianity, even as he makes clear that each tradition has its own record of violence and resources for peace.  This session gathers a distinguished panel of Muslim and Christian scholars to discuss Camp’s book and the prospects for Muslim-Christian dialogue in the United States.


Major Book Review: “Reconciliation and ‘Holy Land Theology’: A Review of Gary Burge’s Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to ‘Holy Land Theology’ (Baker, 2010)"
   Evertt W. Huffard, Harding School of Theology, Convener.
  • Rick Marrs, Pepperdine University, “The Prophets and the Land”
  • Khalil Jahshan, Pepperdine University, “The Dilemma for Palestinian Christians”
  • Hanna Swaid, Member of the Israel Knesset, “Land Issues and the Hope for Reconciliation”
  • Gary Burge, Wheaton College Graduate School, Respondent

Reconciliation in the Middle East faces many challenges, especially in the tension between territorial theology and contemporary injustices. Christian Zionists apply prophetic texts from the Old Testament to current events in the land without reflection on the view of Jesus toward the land. Burge argues that the words of the prophets, the perspective of Jesus in the Gospels and the views of Paul all yield a story about a God seeking to reconcile all creation rather than reclaiming a territory. The panel will address the prophetic issues and contemporary challenges to Arab Christians in the land.


Major Book Review: “Responses to Amanda Porterfield’s Conceived in Doubt: Religion and Politics in the New American Nation, University of Chicago Press”
   Kathy Pulley, Missouri State University, Convener
  • Richard T. Hughes, Messiah College: Reviewer (Distinguished Professor of Religion and Director of the Sider Institute, Messiah College)
  • Beth Schweiger, University of Arkansas: Reviewer (Associate Professor, History Department)
  • Ted Smith, Vanderbilt University Divinity School: Reviewer (Assistant Professor of Ethics and Society, Director of the Program in Theology and Practice)
  • Charles Reagan Wilson, University of Mississippi: Reviewer (Cook Chair of History and Professor of Southern Studies)
  • Amanda Porterfield, Florida State University: Respondent (Robert A. Spivey Professor of Religion)

Amanda Porterfield’s new book challenges the commonly held notion of a strong connection between evangelical religion and democracy in the early days of the republic. In the 1790s, religious doubt became common as the new republic shifted from mere skepticism toward darker expressions of suspicion and fear. By the early 1800s, economic instability and other factors worked to undermine optimism about American political and religious independence. Evangelicals blamed religious skeptics for immorality and social distress; thus, Porterfield counters the idea that evangelical growth in this period was the product of enthusiasm for democracy.


Major Book Review : “Responses to Robert S. Reid’s and Lucy Hogan’s The Six Deadly Sins of Preaching” Session I
   Dave Bland, Harding School of Theology, Convener
  • Jerry Neill, Meadowbrook Church of Christ, Jackson, MS, Reviewer
  • Ron Newberry, Troy Church of Christ, Troy, TN, Reviewer
  • Rob O’Lynn, Kentucky Christian University, Grayson, KY, Reviewer
  • Lucy Hogan, Wesley Theological Seminary and Robert S. Reid, Debuque Seminary (authors), Respondents

In their latest book, The Six Deadly Sins of Preaching, to be released by Abingdon Press in June, Robert Reid and Lucy Hogan focus on the ethical responsibilities of preaching. They identify six types of irresponsible preaching (and their counterparts) that arise out of either a lack of reliability to the listeners or a lack of faithfulness to the Gospel.  The panel reviewing this book is made up of experienced practitioners. Out of their own observations and experiences, they will critique three of these sins: the pretender, the egoist, and the manipulator. 


Major Book Review : “Responses to Robert S. Reid’s and Lucy Hogan’s The Six Deadly Sins of Preaching” Session II
   Dave Bland, Harding School of Theology, Convener
  • Spencer Furby, Slicer Street Church of Christ, Kennett, MO, Reviewer
  • Chris Altrock, Highland Church of Christ, Memphis, TN, Reviewer
  • Pat Bills, Highland Oaks Church of Christ, Dallas, TX, Reviewer
  • Lucy Hogan, Wesley Theological Seminary and Robert S. Reid, Debuque Seminary (authors), Respondents

In their latest book, The Six Deadly Sins of Preaching, to be released by Abingdon Press in June, Robert Reid and Lucy Hogan focus on the ethical responsibilities of preaching. They identify six types of irresponsible preaching (and their counterparts) that arise out of either a lack of reliability to the listeners or a lack of faithfulness to the Gospel.  The panel reviewing this book is made up of experienced practitioners. Out of their own observations and experiences, they will critique three of these sins: the pander, the demagogue, and the despot.


Major Book Review: “Responses to Will D. Campbell and Richard C. Goode’s And the Criminals With Him: Essays in Honor of Will D. Campbell and All the Reconciled, Cascade, 2012.
   Randy Spivey, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • George Barrett, Vanderbilt University, Reviewer
  • J. David Dark, Vanderbilt University, Reviewer
  • Phyllis Hildreth, Lipscomb University, Reviewer
  • Richard C. Goode, Lipscomb University, Respondent

In 1972, Will Campbell published an issue of the journal, Katallagete, focused on the U.S. prison system. The system has since expanded exponentially. Today, the U.S. operates the world’s largest prison system, incarcerating nearly 1 in every 100 adults.  Replicating the first-hand nature of Campbell’s original collection, And the Criminals With Him presents 20 new essays calling, not for a more progressive exacting justice, but to hear voices within the system; contemplating the scandalous call to be in reconciled community with those whom society discards.


“New Brunswick Theological Seminary’s Anti-Racism Initiative: Creating the ‘Beloved Community’ within Institutions of Theological Education”
   Jennifer Jeanine Thweatt-Bates, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Convener
  • Jeffrey R. Baker, Faulkner University, Panelist
  • James W. McCarty III, Emory University, Panelist
  • Jesse Pettengill, West Islip, New York Church of Christ, Panelist
  • Jennifer Jeanine Thweatt-Bates, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Panelist

New Brunswick Theological Seminary’s work in institutional anti-racism is years ahead of other institutions of theological education, and their example has much to offer those who wish to address this persistent present and historical problem. The Anti-Racism Transition Team (ARTT) of NBTS consists of members from all levels of seminary involvement; a representative group introduces this groundbreaking institutional effort. Is it possible to replicate these efforts in other institutions? What advice can be offered from the perspective of those leading the way in efforts at institutional reform and racial reconciliation to fellow institutions of Christian higher education?


“An Old Testament Theology of Prayer: The First of a Three Year Generative Project”
   Phillip Camp, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • Tremper Longman, Westmont College, “Prayer in the Psalms”
  • Claude Mariottini, Northern Seminary, “Prayer in the Writings”
  • Phillip Camp, Lipscomb University, “Prayer in Genesis”

There are several studies on prayer in parts of the Old Testament (especially the Psalms) or on select prayers within the Old Testament, but little in the way of a comprehensive theology of prayer in the Old Testament.  This session will explore the theology of prayer in the Old Testament as whole, beginning with individual sections but working toward a canonical theology. This year’s presenters are: Tremper Longman, Westmont College, “Prayer in the Psalms,” Claude Mariottini, Northern Seminary, “Prayer in the Writings,” and Phillip Camp, Hazelip School of Theology and Lipscomb University, “Prayer in Genesis.”


“Physicians Reading Verghese: Reviews of My Own Country, Cutting for Stone, and The Tennis Partner
   Matthew Hearn, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • James Hildreth, M.D., University of California –Davis, College of Biological Sciences:  Review of Verghese’s My Own Country
  • Leon Dent, M.D., Meharry Medical College:  Review of Verghese’s Cutting for Stone
  • Christopher Lamb, Indiana University School of Medicine:  Review of Verghese’s The Tennis Partner
  • Lisa Siefker Bailey, Indiana University – Purdue University Columbus, Respondent

Abraham Verghese’s fiction and non-fiction provoke his readers to consider a fundamental question for those who practice the art of medicine: How does one reconcile the art of healing with the reality of human mortality and the brokenness of the world?  James Hildreth will review My Own Country from the perspective of his own research and practice with the AIDS community; Leon Dent will review Cutting for Stone from the perspective of a practicing surgeon and teacher of surgeons; and Christopher Lamb will review The Tennis Partner from the perspective of learning the art of compassion.


“Presidents' Panel Session: Church of Christ Affiliated Colleges and Universities”
   Tracey S. Hebert, Lipscomb University, Convener
  • Tracey S. Hebert, Lipscomb University, “Colleges and Universities Affiliated with Churches of Christ: Enrollment Trends and the Future of Spiritual Formation”
  • Earl Lavender, Lipscomb University, “Redemptive Response Through Spiritual Formation: A Unique and Comprehensive Learning Experience”
  • Randy Lowry, President, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • John deSteiguer, President, Oklahoma Christian University, Panelist
  • David Burks, President, Harding University, Panelist
  • Tim Perrin, President, Lubbock Christian University, Panelist

This session asks a panel of college and university presidents to consider and respond to the demographic trends impacting colleges and universities affiliated with Churches of Christ and subsequently what the future of spiritual formation might look like within these institutions. Changing demographics and educational environments result in these institutions serving diverse student audiences enrolled in traditional, residential, commuter, adult, online, off-site, and graduate programs. The distinctiveness that these institutions enjoy within the higher education marketplace is their Christian mission. This session explores the conceptualization, strategies, and methods for implementing spiritual formation within the diverse student audiences being served.


“Race and Reconciliation in Churches of Christ: Civil Rights Activism at Harding College, 1949-1964”
   Michael D. Brown, The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Jeffrey R. Baker, Faulkner University, Co-Conveners
  • Michael D. Brown, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, “A ‘Statement of Attitude’: Civil Rights Activism During the Little Rock Central High Crisis”
  • Joel E. Anderson, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, “Civil Rights Activism During the Ole Miss Crisis and Desegregation at Harding College”
  • Barclay Key, Western Illinois University, Respondent

Churches of Christ and their affiliated universities largely fell silent during the Civil Rights Movement and integrated only grudgingly after the fight was decided.  Within these institutions, however, some groups and individuals actively opposed racism and segregation.  The panelists will tell the stories of people at Harding University who called the school to integrate and the response of the university administration to quiet these efforts.  The respondent will place these stories in their historical context and aftermath.  The moderator then will direct the panelists, respondent and audience to consider these stories in the contemporary moment of upheaval and social change.


“Rebuilding the City: Prospects for Reconciliation and Social Justice from within the Restoration Movement?”
   Chris Dowdy, Southern Methodist University, Convener
  • Larry James, CitySquare, Dallas, TX, Panelist
  • Jay Milibrandt, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Julie Mavity Maddalena, Southern Methodist University, Panelist
  • Michael Dublin, South Central Church of Christ, Raleigh, NC, Panelist
  • Doug Foster, Abilene Christian University, Panelist

Do the Churches of Christ possess the resources to sustain a commitment to social justice? Should proponents of reconciliation and social justice revive, revise, or just reject this expression of Restoration Movement tradition? This session deals with these challenges by engaging with Larry James, CEO of CitySquare, formerly Central Dallas Ministries. James will explore the prospects for promoting reconciliation and social justice within the Restoration Movement, especially the Churches of Christ. A distinguished panel will bring critical perspectives on ministry, activism, history, and ethics to bear on James’s proposals.


“Reconciliation in the Aftermath of the Vietnam War”
   David Keller, Rochester College, Convener
  • Carole Luttrell, Rochester, Illinois; “The Rich Luttrell Story (II): Reconciliation with Family and Self”
  • John Todd, Rochester College, “Vietnam and Reconciliation with God and Self”
  • Mel Hailey, Abilene Christian College; presenter, “Vietnam and Reconciliation with Agencies of the American Government”
  • Leonard Knight, Kentucky Christian College, Respondent

The combat for Veterans of the Vietnam War did not end with the end of their service or the end of the conflict.  Veterans continued to struggle against post-traumatic stress disorder, survivor guilt, family dysfunction, a society that rejected their service, and the red tape of agencies of the government that called upon them to serve.  Restoration with God, self, the American society and agencies of the American government are explored through the eyes of a veteran, a veteran’s widow, and a veteran’s son.


“Restorative Justice, Forgiveness and Reconciliation”
   David Keller, Rochester College, Convener
  • Carole Luttrell, Rochester, Illinois, “The Rich Luttrell Story (I): Forgiveness and Reconciliation”
  • Leonard Knight, Kentucky Christian College, “Repairing the Harm of Trauma Through the Dynamics of Restorative Justice”
  • Preston Shipp, Nashville, Tennessee; presenter, “When Prosecutor Meets Defendant: Stepping Outside a Retributive System”
  • Mel Hailey, Abilene Christian University, Respondent
  • John Todd, Rochester College, Respondent

Retributive justice seeks to repay evil for evil and good for good.  Retribution fails to deliver justice when perpetrator becomes victim and/or victim becomes offender.  Restorative justice--the seeking of  restitution, reconciliation, and a return to original states—attempts to fulfill the gospel’s demands of forgiveness and returning good for evil.  Restorative justice is seen through the lens of personal experiences of trauma and efforts to bring forgiveness and healing to offenders and their victims.


“Scholarship, Activism, Leadership & Faith: A Roundtable on Experiences in Higher Education”
   Thomas Chase Hagood, Abraham Baldwin College, Convener
  • Todd Lee Goen, The University of Georgia and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Panelist
  • Daleah B. Goodwin, The University of Georgia, Panelist
  • Thomas Chase Hagood, Abraham Baldwin College, Panelist
  • Jillian H. Hurst, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Panelist

This roundtable’s participants possess a wide range of research interests and life experiences—ones that will generate a dynamic conversation about young Christian scholars and their successes (and occasional failures) at a variety of America's universities and colleges. The session will examine the challenges/concerns facing the twenty-first century Christian academic (from gender discrepancies to racism, sexism, regionalism, anti-religion, and classism) as well as particular causes/activism(s) s/he engages—i.e. social justice, feminism, civil rights, etc. The panelists’ conversation will generate fresh ways of thinking about how the present generation of American academicians of faith and our roles as teachers, intellectuals, and activists in the United States and global society.


“Screening: Hell and Mr. Fudge
   Ted Parks, Lipscomb University, Convener

As preface to a subsequent panel, the conference will provide a special pre-release showing of the 2012 feature film Hell and Mr. Fudge. Focused on the early career of minister, author, and attorney Edward Fudge, the 2012 biopic weaves a story about the price of conviction around fundamental issues of grace and punishment. In so doing, the movie invites dialogue about the broader place of faith in cinema.


"Service-Learning: A Cross-Disciplinary Reconciliation of Theory and Practice"
   James Huff, Harding University / Purdue University, Convener
  • Larry Bland, John Brown University, “A Locally Sustainable Model of International Service”
  • Todd Patten, Harding University, “Ansanm: A Case Study of ‘Service’ and ‘Learning’”
  • James Huff, Harding University / Purdue University, “Developing Social Awareness in Engineers: Reconciling Service and Learning Outcomes”
  • Christin Shatzer, Lipscomb University, Respondent

Many voices in higher education have recognized service-learning as a valuable pedagogical practice to inculcate academic competency in students while situating them in an environment that enhances their appreciation for their discipline and sense of responsibility to their local/global community. However, in practice, university programs struggle to reconcile the tension between “service” (the practice that benefits community) and “learning” (the theory that benefits the student). The purpose of this generative session is to (1) explore how this tension is negotiated among various service-learning programs and (2) identify a community of Christian scholars interested in generating cross-disciplinary, collaborative scholarship in this space.


“Sustainability & Reconciliation: A Theological Reflection”
   Chris Doran, Pepperdine University
  • Chris Doran, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Dodd Galbreath, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Cliff Barbarick, Abilene Christian University, Panelist

Whether it is framed as the three E’s (environment, economics, ethics) or P’s (planet, profit, people), the triple bottom line approach to sustainability is filtered into the consciousness of mainstream America.  Thinking about sustainability though seems at times to be rather inchoate or even dismissed in faith-based settings.  This panel will reflect on the concept of sustainability by considering whether or not it can be conceived of as a work of reconciliation between three different sets of neighbors: (1) Christian and Secular, (2) human and nonhuman and (3) God and the world.


“Technology and Transcendence: Christian Responses to Transhumanism”
   Jennifer Jeanine Thweatt-Bates, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Convener
  • Matthew Dowling, Oklahoma Christian University, “Should We Hit the Delete Key? : Transhumanism, Emotion Suppression, and the Promise of ‘Vigilant Memory’”
  • William Price, Lipscomb University, “’Transhuman’: A Discourse in Cybernetics and Christian Theology”
  • Jeff Fitzkappes, Lutheran School of Theology, “Theological Resources for Improving the Christian Reception of Transhumanism”

This session addresses the rising popularity of the small but growing international movement known as transhumanism, and its relationship to religion, particularly Christianity. Transhumanism has often been lampooned as a pseudo-religion, a “rapture of the geeks” or a “robot cult,” yet those within the movement characterize it as a secular, rational humanist philosophy. Papers will address the following questions: how should we characterize the movement known as transhumanism? What difference does this make in shaping a Christian theological and ethical response to the movement? What aspects of transhumanism are congenial to Christian faith, and what aspects might we find ourselves compelled to reject?


“Textual Discoveries and Research Developments of the Green Scholars Initiative”
   Curt Niccum, Abilene Christian University, Convener
  • Scott Th. Carroll, Director of the Green Collection, Panelist
  • Jerry Pattengale, Director of the Green Scholars Initiative, Panelist

The Green family of Oklahoma City has invested heavily in amassing artifacts of significance for biblical history and the history of the Bible. Several pieces from their collection will be on display at the Christian Scholars Conference, but the collection has even greater significance. From the beginning the Greens determined to make items from the collection accessible to Christian universities and colleges in order to foster undergraduate research. This provides a marvelous opportunity for students in a wide number of fields to participate in world class scholarship related to faith. Scott Carroll and Jerry Pattengale will describe the collection and the process of engaging students with the collection.


“Together We Thrive:  Obama, Tucson and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation”
   John M. Jones, Pepperdine University, Convener
  • Keri Thompson, University of Texas at Austin, Panelist
  • David Holmes, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Mike Milford, Auburn University, Panelist
  • John M. Jones, Pepperdine University, Panelist
On January 12, 2011, President Barack Obama spoke at the memorial for those who lost their lives in the Tucson shooting that occurred four days earlier.  This discussion panel will consider the role of President Obama as America’s pastor, the rhetorical strategies he employed, the extent to which the speech followed the expectations of the eulogistic genre, value appeals within the speech and implications for reconciliation and civil dialogue in America.


“Toward an Epistemology of Theology”
   William Abraham, Southern Methodist University, Convener
  • William Abraham, Southern Methodist University, Panelist
  • Frederick Aquino, Abilene Christian University, Panelist

It has been commonplace in epistemology to give careful attention not just to epistemology as a generic enterprise but also to explore in detail the epistemology of particular academic disciplines. The crucial warrant for these later developments is that we should fit our epistemic evaluations in an appropriate way to the subject matter under investigation. Despite the wealth of material available in both philosophy and theology across the centuries, there has been no concerted effort to articulate and examine what counts as appropriate epistemic evaluation in theology. This session accordingly focuses on how topics such as liberation theology and spiritual formation can be reconceived and addressed in light of recent developments in epistemology.