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Call for Proposals: World Without End: The New Shape of World Christianity

Call for Proposals

World Without End:

The New Shape of World Christianity

The character of Christianity is changing rapidly as its center shifts to the Global South. African and Asian Christian communities are thriving in contexts of pluralism, immigration, and political repression. New theologies are  also emerging in these communities, expanding and challenging traditions. This conference explores the dynamics of change in the Body of Christ with the waning cohesion of Western and North American Christianity and the emerging need for new practices for participating in the living and growing community of Christian faith.

Suggested topics for 
paper or panel proposals:

  • How does the rise of Global South Christianity affect leadership in Protestant denominations and Catholics?
  • What challenges and opportunities for theological and pastoral education attend the next Christendom?
  • What historical precursors provide guidance or insight to this time of change in Christianity?
  • How might an emerging understanding of Christian missions, evangelism, and theology enrich Western and Northern Christianity, especially in terms of pluralism and multi-faith communities?
  • What political/religious conditions are most threatening or promising in this changing religious landscape?
  • How can Christians navigate the wealth divide between North and South, especially considering the impact of immigration and travel?
  • How can local churches best educate their members on the thriving areas of Christianity in order to support and encourage their global neighbors?
  • What can local congregations learn from Christians in the Global South?
  • What practices will build Christian unity in the global community?


We invite proposals for presentations and panels, 750 words maximum with author(s) contact information and institutional affiliation, from all interested ministers, scholars, community organizers of all faiths and traditions.

Proposals are due
September 15, 2016. Decisions by October 1, 2016.


Conference Website: 

To submit a proposal or ask questions, email:

From the Colloquium, June 2016

“From the Colloquium” reports on the colloquium on vocation, Christianity, and higher learning that takes place in the two fellowship programs in the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts:  the two-year, residential Postdoctoral Fellowship at Valparaiso University, and the three-year fellowship for current graduate students, the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program.

In this final edition for academic year 2015/2016, I’ll provide an overview of the works the Postdoctoral Fellows read in spring, 2016.

The primary question guiding the spring 2016 colloquium was: “What are the practices and ideas about education that I and my students bring to the classroom?” The readings focused on specific questions regarding the general aim of teaching in the liberal arts and the specific aims of day-to-day course organization, preparation, and execution in light of Christian theology and practice.

The colloquium opened with Julie Reuben’s classic essay, “The University and Its Discontents,” in The Hedgehog Review (Fall, 2000), which looks at the marginalization of the moral aims of education in the modern research university in the US generally and the relegation of these aims to the humanities specifically in the middle of the twentieth century. The colloquium read Reuben’s work alongside O.P. Kretzmann’s 1940 presidential inaugural address to Valparaiso University as a case study of the trends she identifies.

From these more general themes, the colloquium then took up the question of whether professors should aim at some kind of moral formation in the classroom itself. The colloquium read first Stanley Fish’s Save the World on Your Own Time and Gilbert Meilaender’s essay, “Education and Soulcraft,” which argue, from different starting points, that university curricula (and, professors specifically) are ill equipped to offer any kind of moral formation in the classroom and should aim instead to foster the learning of information which students can’t otherwise obtain. Mark Schwehn, in his forthcoming “Good Teaching: Character Formation and Vocational Discernment” (David Cunningham, ed., Vocation Across the Academy) offers a counterargument that all teaching and learning necessarily involve moral formation (avoiding plagiarism, for example), and so professors should think carefully about what kind of moral formation takes place in their classrooms.

The colloquium next turned to Paul J. Griffiths’ “Reading as a Spiritual Discipline,” in Jones and Paulsell, The Scope of Our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher, and David I. Smith’s “Reading Practices and Christian Pedagogy,” in Smith and Smith, Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith & Learning, both of which examine whether Christian theological commitments or practices should inform the way we read or teach students to read. Both think it should and offer a critique of consumerist reading that aims at mastery of a passive text against a hermeneutic of Christian charity and humility that treats a text as a conversation partner and reading as an opportunity for formation. The colloquium also discussed Richard Wilbur’s poem, “The Reader.” The following week the colloquium discussed how to read and teach Andres Dubus’ short story, “A Father’s Story” in light of the previous readings.

The colloquium rounded out the spring with three classic texts on teaching and the aims of liberal education: Philip W. Jackson, “Real Teaching,” in Mark R. Schwehn, ed., Everyone a Teacher; Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do, and Eva Brann “Depth and Desire,” also in Everyone a Teacher.

Posted by Joe Creech

Call For Papers: 2016 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, “Higher Learning”


Quick Facts
Dates: Thursday, October 27-Saturday, October 29
Location: Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Deadline for Proposals: July 31, 2016
Web Site: 

Conference Description and Call for Proposals

Higher education in America is in the midst of profound challenge and transformation. The cost of a college education continues to rise. Disagreements persist about what constitutes the core curriculum. Technological advances confront traditional assumptions about how instruction and research are conducted. Political conflict and social unrest have been especially visible on many college campuses. And these are only some of the signs of change and stress.

Amid these challenges, it is not clear what people expect colleges and universities to do in the first place. Should they primarily be devoted to job placement for their graduates? Should they at the same time advance research across the disciplines in ways that expand the frontiers of knowledge? Should they seek to form their students intellectually, morally, and even spiritually while preparing them for responsible citizenship and civic engagement? Should they also be the places where enthusiastic sports fans gather in grand arenas and stadiums to watch athletes pursue victory? With so many competing expectations, it is no wonder that so many institutions seem to be suffering something akin to an identity crisis.

Perhaps some of these challenges and expectations might be better navigated by considering anew the goal of higher learning.

How might the ideal of higher learning be articulated to meet the challenges of the present age? How can colleges and universities cultivate a richer conception and practice of teaching and learning across the disciplines? In what ways might the goals of intellectual, moral, and spiritual formation be advanced in order to serve the needs of students and the common good? What are the possibilities for colleges and universities—especially those with a religious identity and mission—to exemplify a winsome and faithful presence to the larger culture?

Join us as we explore these questions during the 2016 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, “Higher Learning,” on October 27-29.

Proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, and responses to current books are welcome. We seek reflection from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives. Abstracts of no more than 750 words should be submitted by July 31, 2016 online at

Possible topics include:

  • The past, present, and future of Christian higher education
  • STEM, humanities, and liberal learning
  • Opportunities and challenges of online learning
  • Research, teaching, and the scholarly vocation
  • Global perspectives on higher learning
  • The future of the humanities
  • Ancient practices in modern classrooms
  • Pedagogy as formation

We have a great video archive available that includes the plenary lectures and panels from last year’s conference.

You can view these videos here: THE IFL VIMEO PAGE


Institute for Faith and Learning
One Bear Place #97270
Waco, TX 76798-7270
254-710-1725 (fax)



Lilly Fellows Program special edition of The Cresset

The annual Lilly Fellows Program special edition of The Cresset: A Review of Literature, The Arts, and Public Affairs is now available on line.  This special edition contains “Created for Creativity,” Steven R. Guthrie’s plenary address at the 25th annual Lilly Fellows Program National conference at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.  This edition of The Cresset also contains a review by former Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow Jennifer L. Miller of the winner and finalists of the Lilly Fellows Program Book Award, and it contains “Look at Your Fish,” a reflection on learning by former Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow Jason Crawford.

–By Joe Creech

From the Colloquium, February 2016

From the Colloquium

Since 2006, the Lilly Fellows Program Director has published a “From the Colloquium” column about four times per year. The idea behind this column is to share some of the common readings from the colloquia of the Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows Program and the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program.

This fall, the weekly colloquium of the residential Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows, led by Founding Director Mark Schwehn, addressed the question, “How might practices and perspectives from the Christian faith and tradition contribute to teaching and scholarship in the contemporary academy?”  In the last edition of “From the Colloquium” I surveyed many of the texts the Postdoctoral Fellows colloquium used to address that question.  Since that November column, the colloquium has address three additional texts and a film. First, the colloquium read several chapters from James Elkins’ Pictures and Tears. In this work, which has been a favorite of the Lilly Graduate Fellows, Elkins, an art historian, reflects on how his academic training has affected his ability to be moved emotionally by encounters with art, specifically, and beauty, more broadly. The discipline of art history opens up a wider conversation about the role of emotions in research and pedagogy and, perhaps more deeply, how first order thought and disciplinary formation alter our perceptions not only in aesthetics but more broadly in our approach to and engagement with our academic subjects.  From there, the colloquium read selections from Christian Wiman’s 2013 My Bright Abyss, focusing on questions regarding the motivations and inner characterizes that prompt artistic and academic work. From Wiman we moved to Abraham Heschel’s classic The Sabbath.  Like Elkins’ Pictures and Tears, this is a regular reading among both the Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellows.  In it, Heschel delineates the distinction between those parts of our lives aimed at mastering space (the secular; the drive to have) and those that could be devoted to sacred time, which we cannot control (the sacred or Sabbath, the need simply to be).  Finally, the colloquium viewed the film, Of God’s and Men, focused on the work and witness of a monastic community in North Africa in the midst of war.  A meditative work much like Babette’s Feast, it highlights the way practices informed the brothers’ response to increasingly difficult situation.

In the May issue of “From the Colloquium,” I will survey the books the Postdoctoral Fellows read this spring semester.

By Joe Creech


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