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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.

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Conference Website: http://www.georgetowncollege.edu/cdal/conferences/world-without-end/ 

To submit a proposal or ask questions, email:
 CDALConference17@georgetowncollege.edu

Some Good News from Feminismxianity

We always like hearing about the schools in our National Network – what they are up to, what programs they are developing, etc. Just as much as we like to hear about what former postdoctoral fellows are doing.  Today, we get a bit of both in the recent post from former fellow, Caryn Riswold, over at her excellent blog, feminismxianity.  Riswold, who is also a member of our National Network Board and LFP representative for Illinois College, reviews the latest “good news about religious higher education” appearing in Religious News Service and Christianity Today.

Riswold’s post reminds readers of the important role the LFP can and does play in continuing the ecumenical dialogue that happens within our network of schools.  I am particularly drawn to her reminder that  “Church-related higher education, like Christianity itself, brings together people who don’t agree on all things.”  The LFP continues to provide a space and forum for diverse network schools to engage in conversation about their respective institutions.  One thing from my time with the LFP that I have found remarkable is that representatives from the different faith traditions come together at national conferences or in regional gatherings to share best practices.  These are diverse schools not only in matters of faith, but also in size, research and teaching orientation, and in geography. They all share concerns about faculty development and mentoring, preservation of tradition and faith, and maintaining institutions that provide a solid foundation to their students.

Go check out Riswold’s latest post.

Posted by Mary Beth Fraser Connolly

Call for Papers: The Spirit of Sports

Spirit of SportsBaylor University‘s Institute for Faith and Learning recently announced a Call for Papers for its upcoming conference, The Spirit of Sports.  This conference is a part of Baylor’s Symposium on Faith and Culture and will be held November 5 to 7, 2015.  This symposium “will explore, from the perspective of religious faith, the significance of sports in our lives, especially the ways that contemporary sports both support and compromise the cultivation of human excellence and our relationships with others and God.”

The deadline for proposals is July 31, 2015.  For more information, including how to submit proposals, see Baylor’s conference site.

Posted by Mary Beth Fraser Connolly

Call for Proposals: Transhumanism and the Church

We just learned of an upcoming conference at Samford University.  The conference, “TranshumanisChipInHeadm and the Church: Theological Reflections on Technology and Human Enhancement,” will be hosted by Samford’s Center for Science and Religion and held September 24 to 26, 2015.  The conference will explore the possible responses “of the church to Transhumanism and the technological possibilities for human enhancement that [may be] on the horizon.”  The deadline for proposals is May 1, 2015.

To learn more about the conference, including a list of keynote speakers, see the Center for Science and Religion’s conference website.

Posted by Mary Beth Fraser Connolly

Hearing Augustine’s Question: A Report (of sorts) on “Teaching the Intellectual Tradition: Augustine Across the Curriculum”

Today’s guest post is from Ian Clausen, a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow in Theology at Valparaiso University.   Ian’s current book project is The Weight of Love in St. Augustine, which explores themes of moral theology and psychology in the thought of the Bishop of Hippo, giving particular attention to Augustine’s Christian philosophy of education.

Clausen, Ian - smI recently attended a conference at Samford University, Birmingham AL, devoted to the subject of teaching St. Augustine. The conference was part of a series called “Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition,” accompanied with the delightfully vague subtitle, “Augustine Across the Curriculum.” By all accounts the conference was a wild success. I had the privilege of presenting a paper, one among several delivered over the weekend (Oct. 2-4), and came away confirmed in my decision to study Augustine as a figure of importance in Western intellectual history. Yet the conference was neither aimed at the Augustinian guild nor intended—at least not consciously—to indulge in hagiography. Scholars from diverse backgrounds, embracing the ethos of that much-hackneyed phrase “interdisciplinarity,” came together to explore, present, and exchange ideas on how to teach Augustine: thus assuming that Augustine has a place in the curriculum. Since I cannot speak to every paper and presentation that was given, let me confine myself to the two plenary addresses and the spirits they invoked, before offering my own reflections on what it means to “teach Augustine.”

Professor Peter Iver Kaufman (University of Richmond) delivered the first plenary paper, “Deposito Diademate: Augustine’s Emperors,” and its content certainly entertained a lively if brief discussion on the Augustinian “posture” (my word) towards worldly institutions. Against the tide of current fashions in Augustinian scholarship, though not without a sense (a welcomed sense?) of his minority interpretation, Professor Kaufman unveiled an Augustine intensely critical of prevailing power structures, and not the least bit expectant of their achieving real justice. His skepticism does not encourage a listless quietism in the face of injustice, but invites us to look for alternatives to the prevailing institutional arrangements—including, I gather, the modern university—that often perpetuate the moral poverty of the societies they inhabit. Curiously, Professor Kaufman gave “tenure” a ringing endorsement: not because it gives faculty the recognition they need or want, but because it ensures that faculty, and not bureaucrats, control the classroom! Professor Kaufman similarly argued that the Augustinian virtue of humility not only serves to call worldly systems of power into question, but also elevates alternative conceptions of the way things really change in a way that profitably expands the teacher’s moral imagination.

Similarly Professor Kristine Deede Johnson (Western Theological Seminary), delivering the second plenary address the next day, “The Justice Game: Augustine, Disordered Loves and the Temptation to Change the World,” questioned the extent to which contemporary concerns for “social justice,” another much-hackneyed phrase, can benefit from deeper exposure to Augustine’s conception of justice. If the impulse to “change the world” has its source in human effort, what to make of Augustine’s critique of human effort before grace? Surely efforts to promote justice in this world are commendable, but practical deliberation does not happen in a theoretical vacuum. It is always already inscribed within thickly layered descriptions, many of which we inherit without thinking much about them. So how do we describe/give an account of what we are doing when we do it? Such is where Augustine, with his rich and varied notion of justice, can help students to contemplate and clarify their beliefsSt. Augustine. Professor Johnson’s upcoming book on the subject of justice, The Justice Calling (co-authored by Bethany Hanke Hoang, Brazos Press: 2015), promises both to shed light on the biblical and theological grounds of justice, and to equip teachers and students to think carefully about their activism.

For both plenary presenters and the conference more generally, Augustine’s legacy still haunts the landscape of contemporary Western thought. To teach Augustine in the university is a potentially subversive act, not only because Augustine punctures the university’s sanctimonious rhetoric—he certainly does that! But also because he underwrites a different set of expectations, a different “ethic of pedagogy,” through a posture not of control but of humility and attentiveness—in a word, through love.

But as for how we teach love or embody love in the classroom, Augustine can do more than just offer us a few pointers. For love is a way of thinking as much as a way of doing, and only love can truly receive the world and teach us how to live through it. But love in response to what or who is precisely the question. Teaching Augustine exposes students a world of competing voices, all of which invite, entice, and call humanity into question. To recognize and name these voices is the work of attention, and learning how to respond to them is the charge of humility. Love, then, is inscribed within the very act of teaching: the “thing” that renders intelligible our professorial vocations. To teach love is to teach; and teaching implies an invitation. So to what are we inviting our students to perceive, acknowledge, and embrace? Augustine’s answers to that question may not be our answers, ultimately. But Augustine certainly helps us to hear the question afresh.

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