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Religion and Higher Ed in the News: Faith-based Dorms at Public Universities

Over at Inside Higher Ed, a story by Allie Grasgreen about the growing number of faith-based dorms at public institutions funded from private donations (religious or not).  The article stresses that this growth reflects a response to student desire for such accommodations, including dorms focused on interfaith collaboration.  This move reflects a number of  trends covered in a recent book by Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen: No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education. Read more here.

Posted by Joe Creech

Conference, Call for Papers: Re-Imagining Faith January 9-10, 2014 at Georgetown College (KY)

Please note a call for papers for and invitation to attend Re-Imagining Faith, sponsored by the Center for Christian Leadership and Discernment at Georgetown College (KY), January 9-10, 2014.  Featured speakers include Walter Brueggemann, Molly T. Marshall, Stephanie Paulsell, and Miroslav Volf.

Description from the conference website:

In every age, Christians have sought to bear witness to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ while translating it into radically different cultural, political, and social contexts. New forms of the body of Christ emerge from theologians, pastors, artists, and those confronting practical issues of living the faith. These varied expressions anticipate the church described in Scripture as “a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb.” Faithfully re-imagining our lives before the throne of Christ, the unmoving center of our community, is essential for all who hope in the Kingdom of God.

We welcome proposals (300 words) from pastors, scholars, students, or practitioners for papers (20 minutes read time)  or panel discussions (40 minutes) on topics such as Christian faith in a global context, creative expressions of faith, current challenges and opportunities for Christian practice, ethics, theology, or the work of the invited speakers.  Deadline is Sept. 1, 2013.

For more information on the conference, click here.

Registration for the conference is now open.

Posted by Joe Creech

To Everything There is a Season – Martin Marty on Mainline Protestantism

Yesterday, The Christian Century blog posted a contribution by Martin E. Marty on the decline of mainline Protestantism, but really, as his title suggests (“From Declinism to Discovery“) something more is going on.  Marty examines the nature of the rise, decline, and continuation in some form of movements and faiths like mainline Protestantism.  Marty, a historian, takes a long view of the current position of mainline Protestantism and asks his readers to reconsider “decline.”  He says:

You read me wrong, or I have stated things inelegantly, if you think that I think that phenomena which experience decline simply disappear. Just the opposite: historians note how they leave deposits, traces, influences, legacies, or renewable forces that get interwoven into the cultures we now inhabit long after their “decline.”

As always, Marty has something thoughtful to say.  Check out this blog post over at The Christian Century and find out more.

By Mary Beth Fraser Connolly

A New Book on Human Dignity

Imago Dei TalHowardWhat does it mean when we speak of human dignity? What challenges does human dignity confront in our culture today? What is the relationship between contemporary understandings of human dignity and the ancient Christian doctrine of imago Dei, the view that human beings are created in “the image and likeness of God”?

These are the questions that Thomas Albert Howard’s new edited volume Imago Dei: Human Dignity in Ecumenical Perspective, pose.  This new collection of three essays, with an introduction by Howard pursues:

these and related questions in the form of an ecumenical “trialogue” by leading scholars from the three major Christian traditions: John Behr from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Russell Hittinger from the Catholic, and C. Ben Mitchell from the Protestant tradition. The book is the first of its kind to foster an ecumenical conversation around teachings of imago Dei and present-day understandings of human dignity. The three chapter-essays, the editor’s introduction, and the afterword by Lutheran theologian Gilbert Meilaender draw from a wide array of sources, including Scripture, patristic works, ancients creeds, medieval and Thomistic writings, papal encyclicals, Protestant confessional statements, the works of modern theologians, and more.

Imago Dei will serve as an indispensable resource for those wishing to deepen their grasp of the theological bases for Christian views of human dignity, as well as for those who believe that Christ’s words “that they be one” (John 17:21) remain a theological imperative today. The combination of ethical inquiry and ecumenical collaboration makes this timely book a unique and compelling contribution to present-day Christian thought.

This new collection comes out of a program that was partially funded by a grant from the Lilly Fellows Program in the Humanities and the Arts.  The contributors to this volume came together at Gordon College in April 2010 for a Regional Conference, which drew eighty individuals from thirteen colleges and universities attended the one-day event.  Imago Dei is available in paperback and ebook from The Catholic University Press. Go check it out now!

By Mary Beth Fraser Connolly

“The Day Picasso Made Me Fall Down” by David O’Hara

Over at The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, this great Friday read about the convergence of art and learning by David O’Hara:  “The Day Picasso Made Me Fall Down.”  This article reminds me of some of the ideas in James Elkins’ Pictures and Tears, which offers reflection on the way disciplinary training in art history affects our emotive and rational engagement of art, with broader implications for higher education more generally.  Elkins’ work has become a favorite common reading among the Lilly Graduate Fellows.

Posted by Joe Creech

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