Whose Church? Which Academy? Contested Definitions and Boundaries in Christian Scholarly Identity
When: June 9, 2021, 2:45 pm - Wednesday
Where: Ezell 207
Without a common cultural “church” or “academy,” religious and academic communities exist relative to broader categories such as race, socio-economics, nationality, and sexuality; requiring individuals to hold in tension commitments between multiple religious and academic communities. This dis-integration of socio-cultural formation raises the problem of scholarly identity, in particular for the “Christian” scholar caught between competing identities and commitments. This session offers critical perspectives on the confessing scholar bound by both academy and church, but often not fully integrated into either.
Rafael Rodriguez, Johnson University, “The Rebel Embrace: Resisting the Fragmentation of Church and Academy”
Contemporary ways of being—whether Christian or scholar—have in common a pattern of increasing granularity. Demographic and ideological categorization make it possible for us to map ourselves relative to others with very little information, though neither Church nor Academy readily accept that demography or ideology capture what is important about any given individual. While granularity has its benefits, this paper will suggest that my position between—or within—both the Church and the Academy offers resources and motivations to resist the fragmentation of scholarly or ecclesial identities and to embrace a more holistic model of identity and identification.
Mark Wiebe, Lubbock Christian University, “Metaphysics and the Pursuit of the Truth: The Bond of Reason, Revelation, and res from Aquinas, to Newman, to Gilson”
This essay will lay out Thomas Aquinas’ vision of the unity of knowledge as rooted in the identity of being, goodness, and truth, and trace this notion as developed in the thought of John Henry Newman and Etienne Gilson. This will set the stage to consider in what ways Thomas’ vision of the life of the Christian mind recommends itself to the contemporary Christian scholar and the Christian institution of higher learning. Newman and Gilson in particular both provide further explication of Thomas’ approach to the relationship between faith and reason, and exemplify its virtues and strengths in their work.
Samjung Kang-Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, “Gender and Race at the Crossroads”
Churches of Christ and the universities serving them live out narratives about gender, race, and the possibilities of action around those topics that are frequently slanted toward the preservation of inherited power structures. The church and universities often work together to delay or prevent change. However, the theological art of listening to marginalized Christians can reshape our communal and individual narratives by highlighting a much wider set of human experiences and revealing sources of God’s redemption in history. This presentation draws on culturally contextualized theology and the author’s experiences to propose new approaches to longstanding problems.
Brandon Pierce, Independent Scholar, Convener
- Rafael Rodriguez, Johnson University, “The Rebel Embrace: Resisting the Fragmentation of Church and Academy”
- Mark Wiebe, Lubbock Christian University, “Metaphysics and the Pursuit of the Truth: The Bond of Reason, Revelation, and res from Aquinas, to Newman, to Gilson”
- Samjung Kang-Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, “Gender and Race at the Crossroads”
- Carl Holladay, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Respondent