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Call for Papers: “Reason and Faith on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation”

We are pleased to announce a Call for Papers the fall LFP regional conference entitled “Reason and Faith on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation,” which will take place October 13-14 on the Central College campus in Pella, Iowa. This conference brings together scholars and educators from a variety of Christian denominations, both Protestant and Catholic, in order to discuss the relation of reason and faith as it is understood in both the academy and Church over the past five hundred years.

In addition to five keynote speakers, the conference invites scholarly participation in the form of paper presentations from a range of disciplinary perspectives. Papers should focus on an aspect of the relation between faith and reason as it pertains to the Protestant Reformation or the Counter-Reformation, either historically or in its consequences, especially pertaining to education.

A more detailed rationale and call for papers can be found on the conference website:

Proposals can be submitted through the website as well. The deadline for submission is July 1.

Posted by Joe Goss

Reason and Faith on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Central College, Pella Iowa, October 13-14, 2017

Save the Date

We kindly ask that you save the date for our fall conference entitled “Reason and Faith on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation,” which will take place October 13-14, 2017 on the Central College campus in Pella, Iowa. This conference brings together five keynote speakers from a variety of Christian denominations, both Protestant and Catholic, in order to discuss the relation of reason and faith as it is understood in both the academy and Church over the past five hundred years.

  • John Baxter (Dalhousie University — Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Christina Bieber Lake (Wheaton College — Wheaton, IL )
  • Jennifer Hockenberry Dragseth (Mt. Mary University — Milwaukee, WI)
  • Douglas Kries (Gonzaga University — Spokane, WA)
  • Albert Wolters (Redeemer University College — Ancaster, Ontario)

In April 2017 watch for a “call for papers” for those interested in presenting at the conference.

For more information, visit the Conference Website or contact directors Terry Kleven or Mark Thomas.

Posted by Joe Goss

Call for applications: Teaching Christian Intellectual Tradition Summer Institute on “Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination”

Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination

July 9-14, 2017

Samford University’s Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition Project seeks to promote a national conversation about the place of the Christian intellectual tradition in higher education. In particular, it is interested in helping faculty from across the disciplines to develop effective strategies for teaching this tradition, cultivating younger scholars who are still mastering their craft while providing opportunities for more experienced faculty to explore and experiment with new pedagogies. Under the leadership of the University Fellows Program and in partnership with local and national organizations, the TCIT Project hosts conferences, seminars, speakers and roundtables throughout the year, including a biennial national conference and a biennial residential summer institute.

The 2017 TCIT Summer Institute is on the theme, Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination, led Dr. Bryan Johnson (Director & Professor, University Fellows), Dr. Christopher Metress (University Professor), and Dr. Shannon Flynt (Assistant Professor of Classics).

In “What is a Classic?” (1944), T.S. Eliot boldly claimed that Virgil stands “at the centre of European civilization, in a position which no other poet can share or usurp.” For Eliot, the “great ghost who guided Dante’s pilgrimage” and “led Europe towards the Christian culture which he could never know” should always guide the West because he produced not just a “universal classic,” but the “classic of all Europe.”

“Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination” will provide faculty from across the disciplines the opportunity to explore the influence of Virgil on twentieth-century Christian poets and intellectuals, and to discuss strategies for teaching that influence to today’s undergraduates. Designed primarily for non-specialists, the seminar will open with a discussion of the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the Aeneid, and then turn to twentieth-century writers indebted to Virgil, including, but not limited to, Eliot, Haecker, Tate, Auden, Radnóti, Heaney, and Boland.

Hosted by the University Fellows Program at Samford University, these summer seminars place great value on collegiality and collaboration, combining intellectual rigor with southern hospitality. The seminar welcomes a mix of early-, mid-, and late-career faculty, and seeks to build lasting relationships that will promote teaching excellence and enrich our students’ understanding of the Christian Intellectual Tradition.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Hull Fund for Christian Scholarship, registration for the seminar is $50. Participants are responsible for the cost of their travel to and from campus, with housing, meals, course materials, and off-campus excursions covered by the University Fellows Program.

To apply, please send a short c.v. (2-3 pages) and a 250-word statement of interest to Dr. Bryan Johnson at Both documents should be sent as attachments, and the statement of interest should discuss how this seminar is important to your professional development.

Space is limited, and the deadline is May 1, 2017. All applicants will be notified by May 15.

Posted by Joe Creech

Christian Colleges and Bridge Building

Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard, The Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Ethics and Professor of History at Valparaiso University, is a former Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow (1997-1999). Here’s a link to his timely, insightful article from 2/14/17 on “Christian Colleges in the Age of Trump.”

From the Colloquium

The Lilly Fellows Program’s Postdoctoral Fellows continue their weekly colloquium this spring with a new question: How do practices and perspectives from Christian faith and tradition already inform our teaching, and how might they shape our vocational aspirations as teacher/scholars? The discussion has moved from, in the fall, broader questions relating to the overall academic environment to more specific considerations, drawing on our own teaching experiences and aspirations.

The guiding text has been David I. Smith and Susan M. Felch’s recent book Teaching and Christian Imagination (Eerdmans, 2016). Far from a simple “how-to” book, it invites us to meditate on several images that have resonance with teaching and learning. The colloquium has considered the book’s metaphors of pilgrimage, gardening, and building, asking to what extent these are relevant and fruitful in our day-to-day (and lifelong) vocations in education. Although our teaching often relies on metaphors such as these (consider “planting seeds,” “laying a foundation,” or the very term “curriculum,” which, the authors point out, means in Latin “the act of running” or “race track”), we don’t often reflect on the full extent of their use, nor do we often realize the grounding they have in tradition and scripture. With this book, we’re gently reminded of the wide variety of useful imagery available to us as we design and deliver our courses. The book shows us that the Christian imagination and metaphorical thinking can be a rich source of wisdom for the classroom and curriculum. Imaginative teaching may be able to reach students in ways that technique and disciplinary knowledge alone cannot.

The authors do not attempt to answer every question they raise, nor do they suggest everyone ought to make use of the book in the same way. Moreover, the book’s meditative, poetic quality calls for the reader to take it slowly and not all at once. In fact, the colloquium at one point considered whether we were reading it the wrong way by reading from cover to cover, without interlude. Other reading strategies would be interesting to try, but ours nonetheless gave us some useful new tools to try out in class, and a new perspective on the classroom community. Truly, it’s a book out of the ordinary, representing a fresh, challenging, potentially fruitful approach to teaching.

Yet the integration of teaching and Christian imagination is not simple, as our discussion has revealed. Questions have been raised about the book’s metaphors: are they appropriate? Are some better than others? Does the “pilgrimage” metaphor extend to refugees and exiles? How do we overcome thinking of each other as strangers on the journey? How can we turn the educational pilgrimage into a communal adventure? If we are gardeners in the classroom, are we charged with planting, feeding, pruning, and harvesting? Who chooses the seeds? What do we do with the weeds that inevitably creep in? How can we think of an entire university as a garden, beyond the single plot that is our own classroom? Or, when it comes to the metaphor of building, what counts as a foundation? How do we involve students as apprentice builders? What happens when our edifice runs afoul of the building code? The questions have been many and deep, prompting our imaginations and offering much to think about after the discussion wraps up.

Posted by Joseph Goss

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