Lipscomb University

Christian Scholars' Conference

Abstracts 2016

Session Abstracts

Updated 9 May 2016

 

AMERICAN RELIGIOUS HISTORY

“City of God Expatriates in the City of Man” 

John Harris, Samford University, Emeritus, Convener

  • Ben Baker, CareHere LLC, Brentwood, TN
  • Mark Cullum, Abilene Christian University
  • John Harris, Samford University, Emeritus
  • Randy Harris, Abilene Christian University, Respondent

As earlier Christians, American Jesus followers live in two cities – God’s and man’s. Modern democracies are rooted in the same ethos as the first cities of Cain and Nimrod. Despite changes in form, they are composed of fallen citizens and officials. How then do City of God expatiates manage their lives in the flawed Cities of Man? What responsibilities do Jesus followers have in democracies as compared to past monarchies? Are today’s affluent and powerful economies subject to the same corrosives as Tyre? Is the church, broadly speaking, prepared to live without its Constantinian privileges?

“Major Book Review: D’Esta Love, ed., Finding Their Voices: Sermons by Women in the Churches of Christ (Abilene Christian University Press, 2015),” Kathy Pulley, Missouri State University, Convener

  • D’Esta Love, Pepperdine University, Presenter
  • Richard Hughes, Lipscomb University, Reviewer
  • Kathy Pulley, Missouri State University, Reviewer
  • Gary Selby, Pepperdine University, Reviewer
  • John York, Lipscomb University, Respondent

From the early 1980s to 2014, this book provides a record of over twenty women who have preached in Churches of Christ in the United States. Love has collected and published one sermon from each woman, along with a brief biography of each woman’s story. This collection of sermons is unique because women have not been allowed to preach or speak in the church’s worship services.  Through both the sermons and the women’s stories, Love provides a window through which scholars can reflect upon these history-making moments, and the implications of such change for the future of Churches of Christ.

“Religious Culture and American Politics” 

Scott Billingsley, University of North Carolina, Pembrooke, Convener

  • John D. Wilsey, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, “‘Come Roam with Me Columbia’s Forests Through’: American Exceptionalism and the Environment”
  • Daniel K. Williams, University of West Georgia, “Theological Divisions in the Pro-Life Movement: The Differences between Catholic and Evangelical Approaches to Abortion in the 1970s"
  • K. Scott Culpepper, Dordt College, “Beat the System: The Role of Contemporary Christian Music in Grooming Christian Youth for Cultural Conflict in the 1980s and 90s”
  • David Edwin Harrell, Auburn University, Daniel F. Breeden Eminent Scholar in the Humanities Emeritus, Respondent

The three papers on this panel analyze the influence of religious culture on American political attitudes in three important areas: environmentalism, abortion policy, and the formation of the Christian Right. John Wilsey’s paper examines the way in which the religious concept of American exceptionalism shaped Americans’ attitude toward the environment. Daniel Williams’s paper explores the differences between Catholic and evangelical Protestant attitudes toward abortion in the 1970s and the way in which those differences affected the political trajectory of the pro-life movement. Scott Culpepper’s paper highlights the contributions of Christian music to Christian Right political mobilization in the late 1980s and 1990s. Each of these papers breaks new ground by exploring how a cultural study of American religion might reshape our understanding of the history of modern American political debates. The respondent will be Ed Harrell, the Daniel F. Breeden, Eminent Scholar in the Humanities Emeritus. He has studied religion in American society for over sixty years and written definitive works on Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, the charismatic and healing revivals, and the Stone-Campbell Movement.

 

BUSINESS, ENGINEERING, AND COMPUTER SCIENCE

“Assessing Ethical and Unethical Business Practices”

John Crawford, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Orneita Burton and Alfa Nyandoro, Abilene Christian University “A Design Thinking Approach to Assessing Economic and Social Justice in America"
  • John Crawford, Lipscomb University “Enabling the Unethical Business”
  • David Johnson, Faulkner University, “In Praise of Price Gougers?”

This session brings together faculty with diverse ideas on ethical business practices. Presenters will consider how organizations can develop products and services to address social justice and to operate in ethical ways. They also will address public perception of what constitutes ethical conduct by organizations.

“Business as Mission”

Josiah Pleasant, Harding University, Convener

  • Khanjan Mehta, Pennsylvania State University, panelist
  • Josiah Pleasant, Harding University, panelist
  • Rob Touchstone, Lipscomb University, panelist

In recent years, the idea of “Business as Mission” (BAM) has emerged in business schools and their sister programs in theology. As contemporary students seek integration between their lives as followers of Jesus and as career professionals, BAM offers a unique connection. Panelists in this session will share their own experiences as faculty members and entrepreneurs in creating BAM projects.

“Business as Mission: Theory and Practice”

George Goldman, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Thomas Cairns, Azusa Pacific University, Bethany Johnson, Point Loma Nazarene University, Jeffrey Purganan, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Nicole Morales, Point Loma Nazarene University, “A Business Model for Solving Social Issues and Matters of Faith”
  • George Goldman and Andy Borchers, Lipscomb University, “Where in the Kingdom is Business As Mission?”
  • David Bosch, Boyce: The College at Southern, “Findings from a Business as Mission Field Study”

This session examines the emerging topic of Business as Mission (BAM) from both a theoretical and practical perspective. In this session, presenters will examine the biblical basis of BAM and explore how we can apply BAM thinking in social justice settings. We also will consider a business model for addressing social issues within the context of faith based institutions.

Business, Computing and Engineering Key Note

Kerry Patterson, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Khanjan Mehta, Pennsylvania State University, "Building Educational and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for Sustainable Development”
  • Gary Gardner, Mission Upreach, Panelist
  • Rob Touchstone, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Rich Wells, Harding University, Panelist
  • Kristopher Hatchell, Barge Waggoner, Panelist

Engaging students in the design of products and services that address local and global socio-economic challenges has become a part of the fabric of universities across the world. The nature and intensity of engagement spans the spectrum from awareness-raising efforts to advocacy to entrepreneurial endeavors. The rigorous integration of an entrepreneurial approach into engineering design has the potential to transform a program that focuses on low-impact service activities to high-impact social enterprises. This fast-paced talk and panel will provide practical and actionable insights on how to build programs and entrepreneurial ecosystems that spin-off sustainable and scalable business in developing countries. 

The business, computing and engineering track has invited Dr. Khanjan Mehta from Penn State to headline its sessions.  Khanjan's expertise in humanitarian engineering and social enterprise fits the 2016 CSC theme of social justice and speaks to faculty in our disciplines.  Khanjan believes that the integration of an entrepreneurial approach to engineering-design endeavors has the potential to transform programs that focus on low-impact service activities to high-impact social enterprises.  His fast-paced talk and panel discussion will provide practical and actionable insights on how to build educational programs and entrepreneurial ecosystems that spin off sustainable and scalable businesses in developing countries.

“Engaging Students in Sustainable and Scalable Answers to Global Socio-Economic Challenges”

Kerry Patterson, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Khanjan Mehta, Pennsylvania State University, “Engaging Students in Sustainable and Scalable Answers to Global Socio-Economic Challenges,” Presenter
  • Gary Gardner, Mission Upreach, Panelist
  • Rob Touchstone, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Rich Wells, Harding University, Panelist
  • Kristopher Hatchell, Barge Waggoner, Panelist

Engaging students in the design of products, services and educational programs that address global socio-economic challenges has become a part of the fabric of universities across the United States. The nature and intensity of engagement spans the spectrum from awareness-raising efforts to advocacy programs to entrepreneurial endeavors. The rigorous integration of an entrepreneurial approach into engineering design endeavors has the potential to transform a program that focuses on low-impact service activities to high-impact social enterprises. This presentation and panel examine practical and actionable insights on how to build educational programs and entrepreneurial ecosystems that spin-off sustainable and scalable businesses in developing countries.

“Humanitarian Service in Field Projects”

Rich Wells, Harding University, Convener

  • Justin A. Myrick, Sr.Kerry PattersonA. Fort GwinnChris Gwaltney, and Caleb Meeks, Lipscomb University, Carter BeardenRyan Gadsey, and Daniel Jordan, HDR-ICA, Ethan JohnsonLuke Burris, and Kris Hatchell, Barge Waggoner, Summer and Cannon, “The Anatomy of a Bridge: An Engineering Service Project in the Developing World”
  • Gary Gardner, Mission UpReach, “Mission Upreach”
  • Rusty Towell, Abilene Christian University, "Advancing Molten Salt Reactor Technology to meet the Needs of the World"

Humanitarian service has become a rallying point for faith based engineering and business programs. In this session, we will examine three such projects. Participants will be challenged to consider how these efforts can simultaneously develop students spiritually, show God’s love in the developing world and provide sustainable answers to social needs.

“Integrating Social Justice in Classroom and Business I”

Ray Eldridge, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Kenan Casey, Freed-Hardeman University, “Integrating Social Justice into Computer Science Pedagogy“
  • Tim Wallace, Lipscomb University “Leveraging Data Science for Benevolence in the New Millennium”
  • Joseph Tipton, Lipscomb University, “Faith and Learning Integration in a Mechanical Engineering Thermodynamics Course” 

“Integrating Social Justice in Classroom and Business II”

Lindsay Dillingham, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Christopher Davis, Harding University, “Interactional and Interpersonal Justice in the Virtual Classroom”
  • Lindsay Dillingham, Lipscomb University, “Uncovering the Positive Side of Business: Teaching Brand Concepts via Philanthropic Exploration”
  • Kerianne Roper, Oklahoma Christian University, “Moving Toward Higher Levels of Bloom’s Cognitive Process Dimensions: A Project-Based Classroom Approach”

In designing and executing instruction, faculty in business, computing and engineering fields face a daunting challenge. Given limited time, how do we cover our subject material and bring Jesus’ message to students? In these two sessions, presenters bring their unique answers to this question. In their technology focused field, they have addressed the challenge of helping students see Jesus’ care for social justice in a broken world.

“Leadership that Produces Ethical Business Practices”

Brad Reid, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Dennis Marquardt, Abilene Christian University, “Avoiding Failure or Proving Competence: Which Leader Orientation Motivates More Follower Unethical Behavior?”
  • Andy Borchers and Beki Baker, Lipscomb University, “Shakespeare and Leadership”
  • Brad Reid, Lipscomb University, “Religious Legal Issues Accompany a Culturally Diverse Workforce”
  • Clifford Anderson, Vanderbilt University, “A Christian Perspective on the Commercialization of Traditional Knowledge”

The subject of leadership defies categorization in a single academic discipline. In this session, presenters examine ethical concerns faced by leaders. We will look at diverse sources of knowledge to address ethical business practices in leadership.

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

“Domestic Violence in the American Christian Church: Current Trends & Effective Resources”

Tanya Asim Cooper, Pepperdine University School of Law, convener 

  • Tanya Asim Cooper, Pepperdine University School of Law, Panelist
  • Roslyn M. Satchel, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Laura Clark, Domestic Violence Survivor/Educator, Domestic Violence Awareness in the Church, Panelist
  • Teresa Fry Brown, Emory University Candler School of Theology; Associate Pastor of New Bethel AME Church, Lithonia, GA, Panelist
  • Charlie Clay Clark, Daystar Family Church; Domestic Violence Awareness in the Church, Respondent

This panel examines domestic violence in the American Christian Church: the incidence, narratives, theories, and responses; and strives to help churches navigate this problem safely and successfully. Through interdisciplinary research and practice, this panel aims to l) explore how churches welcome and care for victims in their congregations, 2) educate on the ethical, psychological, legal, and restorative theories/dynamics underlying domestic violence, as well as 3) provide church congregations and leaders with knowledge, curricula, and resources to effectively address this nationwide epidemic of domestic violence.

"Love, Justice, and Power in Stanley Nelson's The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution"

Ted Parks, Lipscomb University, and Andrea Blackman, Nashville Public Library, Convener

  • Bobby Green, Charleston Metro Church of Christ, Panelist
  • Richard Goode, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Aerial Ellis, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Tanya Brice, Benedict College, Panelist

In his director's statement, Stanley Nelson offers a striking insight into the making of his feature documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. Nelson identifies the "core driver" of the Black Panthers as love. "The Black Panther Party emerged out of a love for their people and a devotion to empowering them. This powerful display of the human spirit, rooted in heart, is what compelled me to communicate this story accurately," Nelson writes. How can people of faith, especially those who admire Martin Luther King, Jr.'s non-violence, understand the Black Panthers' contrasting approach? What does an ethic of love look like -- then and now?

“On the Road to the Beloved Community”

Don McLaughlin and Joshua Jackson, North Atlanta Church of Christ, Conveners

  • Jerry Mitchell, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, “Stories of Justice and Redemption in the New South”
  • William Lofton Turner, Distinguished Professor of Leadership, Policy and Community Service and Executive Counsel to the President, Lipscomb University, “Seeking Higher Ground: Bringing to Light Microaggressions that Impede Progress on the Road to the Beloved Community”
  • Respondents, Audience

Psychological concepts of microaggressions and historical trauma are examined to stimulate honest conversation about race in society and in the church and to provide a framework for understanding persistent contemporary racial problems. Neither our nation nor our faith communities have lived up to their callings to foster sustained racial harmony. The path to racial reconciliation involves acknowledging and recognizing the trauma caused by our past behaviors and finding our way forward. An important part of reconciliation is to change the harmful and toxic narratives around race to narratives that are based in truth, spirituality and virtue. 

"Screening: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution"

Ted Parks, Lipscomb University, Convener

A 2015 feature documentary constructing its narrative from contemporary interviews and revealing archival sources, this film is the latest installment in director Stanley Nelson’s trilogy of non-fiction films about the Civil Rights Movement that includes Freedom Riders (2010) and Freedom Summer (2014).  The Christian Scholars’ Conference screens The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution as preface to the subsequent generative session dedicated to discussing this film and its significance for the continuing call for racial justice.

 

CROSS AND CRESCENT

“Christian Responses to Islamophobia”

Garry Bailey, Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • John Barton, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Keith Huey, Rochester College, Panelist
  • Brooke Baker, Faith & Culture Center, Nashville, TN, Panelist
  • Josh Graves, Otter Creek Church of Christ, Panelist
  • Daoud Abudiab, President of the Faith and Culture Center, Nashville, TN, Panelist

Islamic extremism has created a challenging context for Christians who may otherwise want to engage in interfaith dialogue or friendship. This extremism motivates fear such that many Christians choose to either avoid engaging in interfaith relationships or act out angrily towards Muslim people, whether they are extremists or not (Islamophobia). In this respect, it seems like a growing number of Christians wrestle with the love principle of 1 John 4:18 which says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” The essential question is how do Christians counter Islamophobia with love? More specifically, how do Christians appropriately replace fear with love, welcome, and service to Muslims in our communities? What models are appropriate for a Christian community, organization, or individual to engage Muslim people in loving ways?

“The God of Retribution: Reflections on the Qur’an’s Theology” 

Trevor W. Thompson, University of Chicago, Convener

  • Gabriel Said Reynolds, University of Notre Dame

The theme of God’s mercy runs throughout the Qur'an, every chapter of which (except one), begins with the invocation “In the name of God the merciful, the benevolent.”  The Qur'an, however, also emphasizes God’s justice and even His vengeance. The vengeance of the Qur'an’s God is evident in the stories it tells of the retribution which God has carried out on unbelieving peoples. The theme of divine vengeance is also found in the Bible (perhaps most famously in Rom 12:19; quoting Deu 32:35), and yet the particular accent which the Qur'an places on divine vengeance is evident from the manner in which it retells Biblical accounts (especially those of Noah and Lot). In my presentation I will make the case (following in part David Marshall’s God, Muhammad, and the Unbelievers) that the mercy of God in the Qur'an must be understood in light of His vengeance. I will also ask what implications this has for the theological doctrine (taught for example by the Catholic Church) that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

 

DOCTORAL STUDENTS IN THEOLOGY

"Doctor of Ministry Research Presentations: Reflective Praxis for Congregations"

John York, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Daniel McGraw, Abilene Christian University, “Formulating an Intentional Curriculum for Spiritual Leadership Development at the West University Church of Christ” 
  • Devin Swindle, Harding School of Theology, “The Kerusso Experience: A Resource for Calling Teenaged Students to the Ministry of Preaching.” 
  • Patricia H. Brock, Lipscomb University, “The Long-term Effects of Racism on Reconciliation”  
  • Ron Bruner, Executive Director of Westview Boys Home, Respondent

Each year the Doctor of Ministry programs at Harding School of Theology, Lipscomb University and Abilene Christian University graduate practitioner-scholars.  As practitioner-scholars, they have developed great facility in contextual theology, ministry skills, and in theological reflection. This session offers a sample of the research done by recent graduates of all three programs, demonstrating the vitality of congregational and ministerial contexts for research and learning.  The session will also create a context for further development of their research for use by scholars, ministers, and congregational leaders.

Doctoral Students I: “Theological Anthropology and Identity Construction” 

Jennifer Thweatt, Theologian-at-Large. Convener and Respondent

  • Travis Weber, Texas Christian University, “A Pastoral Theological Engagement of Imago Dei, Identity, and Agency: The Dis/Empowerment of Victim-Survivor Identities”
  • Andrew Krinks, Vanderbilt University, “Theological Anthropology and the Construction of Criminality”
  • Lauren Smelser White, Vanderbilt University, “Asceticism or Enslavement?: Christological Re-Constructions of the Person in the Bodily Process of Salvation”

This session evaluates the relationship between theological anthropology and human identity formation in the history of Christian thought. Much contemporary scholarship is dedicated to elaborating and interrogating the role of Christian conceptions of the human being in processes of identity construction. These papers by current PhD students in theology attempt to join in that work by engaging in critical reflection upon these issues from clear disciplinary perspectives that speak into a multi-disciplinary conversation. They identify and critically evaluate implicit beliefs, practices, and values informing Christian claims about human salvation and/or flourishing, with far-reaching implications for identity formation.

Doctoral Students II: “Engagements with Medieval Theology: Justice in the Scholastic Tradition” 

Fred Aquino, Abilene Christian University, Convener and Faculty Respondent

  • William L. Glass, Southern Methodist University, “The Nature of the Case: Thomist Anthropology and the Need for Casuistry in Moral Theology”
  • Daniel W. Houck, Southern Methodist University, “Death without Grace: Aquinas’s Developing View of Original Justice and the Inconvenientia of Pure Nature”
  • David Mahfood, Southern Methodist University, “Satisfaction for the Oppressed: Atonement, Justice, and Reparations”

The topic of justice received a great deal of attention in the medieval theological tradition. These papers by current graduate students in theology attempt to mine that tradition for wisdom relevant to issues in contemporary systematic and moral theology, including the role of casuistry can or should play in moral theology, how we ought to understand the state of humanity prior to the Fall, and how Christian teaching about atonement relates to the question of restoring justice in human relations.

 

ETHICS

"Interaction with Sandel’s Plenary: Jesus and Justice"

Micki Pulleyking, Missouri State University, Moderator

  • Richard Goode, Lipscomb University, Respondent
  • Peter Browning, Drury University, Respondent
  • Darryl Tippins, Abilene Christian University, Respondent
  • Michael Sandel, Harvard University, Respondent
  • Micki Pulleyking, Missouri State University, Respondent

Sandel believes it is a mistake for public discourse to disregard religious convictions. This panel will explore connections between Sandel’s ideas, presented in the plenary, and Christian ideals that compel us to practice justice. What actions, concerns and duties does discipleship demand?  The Gospels assert that the needs of others make a moral claim upon us. Sandel reminds us that some things are not for sale, some actions are not permissible and concern for the poor should take priority over privileges for the wealthy. Perhaps notions of consent, merit and autonomy are not the highest ideals for people of faith.

“What Money Can’t Buy:  The Moral Limits of the Market: A Review and Discussion”

James G. Shelton, Harding University, Convener 

  • Rolland Pack, Freed-Hardeman University, Emeritus, Education Panelist
  • Layne Keele, Jones School of Law, Faulkner University, Law Panelist
  • David Johnson, Faulkner University, Finance Panelist
  • Allen Frazier, Harding University, Business Panelist
  • Peter Rice, Harding University, Bible Panelist 

Michael Sandel’s book, What Money Can’t Buy, questions applying market solutions to areas which traditionally have been off-limits to markets.  He asks if there is something wrong in a society where everything is for sale.  Are we placing market values on things that defy market measurements? While acknowledging the benefits of a market economy, he questions the ethical directions of a market society.  In this session, an eclectic group of scholars from three Christian colleges will give perspectives on these questions from the areas of philosophy, theology, and business.

 

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

“Athens and Jerusalem: A Dialogue on the Intersections of the Academy and the Ecclesia” 

Brandon Pierce, College St. Church of Christ, Junction, TX and Paul Watson, Cole Mill Road Church of Christ, Durham, NC, Conveners

  • Samjung Kang-Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, Panelist
  • Stanley Tyrone Talbert, Union Theological Seminary, Panelist
  • Tom Robinson, Manhattan Church of Christ (New York, NY), Panelist
  • Carson Reed, Abilene Christian University, Panelist

As universities offer fewer full-time teaching appointments while the number of qualified applicants increases, young academics find themselves without an appropriate outlet to use their gifts. At the same time, the church continues to resist theological complexity and sensitivity, whether through a quiet but pervasive anti-intellectualism or a prioritization of other “goods” such as religious experience, evangelism, or church-growth. These twin crises give new urgency to disentangling the complex host of issues that separate the church and the academy. This panel discussion brings together persons with diverse perspectives—seasoned in both academic scholarship and ministerial practice—to discuss issues concerning the integration of the academy and the church.

“The Christian College and the Meaning of Academic Freedom: Truth-Seeking in Community” 

Brad Reid, Lipscomb University, and formerly of Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • William Ringenberg, author, Taylor University, Discussant and Panelist
  • Andy Borchers, Lipscomb University, formerly of Kettering University, Panelist
  • Sarah Gibson, Lipscomb University, formerly of George Fox University, Panelist  

Our panel provides a discussion of this newly published book by the author, and commentary regarding the significant issue of academic freedom in the contemporary Christian university. Dr. Ringenberg brings both history and contemporary events to bear in his analysis of the struggle to balance academic freedom and religious concerns in the Christian college. Other panelists have experiential perspectives.

"A Pedagogy of Pilgrimage: Journeying Toward God, the Self, and Others on the Camino de Santiago"

Ted Parks, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Norma Burgess, Lipscomb University, respondent
  • Jackie Halstead, Selah: Center for Spiritual Formation, respondent
  • Kim Reed, Lipscomb University, respondent
  • Mark Beckman, St. Henry Catholic Church, Nashville, respondent

In his brief introduction to pilgrimage, Ian Reader lists various themes common to pilgrims' journeys throughout the world: traveling afar to venerate "holy figures"; pilgrimage as a spiritual exercise to draw closer to God; the geographical movement of pilgrimage as metaphor for the spiritual journey; or pilgrimage as a search for meaning. How would an international experience based on pilgrimage express the mission of faith-based universities in comparison with global offerings that take students to fixed residences overseas? In this session, respondents and attendees will offer insights into a proposal for a new multidisciplinary program based on walking the centuries-old pilgrimage route in northern Spain known as the Camino de Santiago.

"Presidents’ Panel: The Future of Christian Higher Education"

Tim Perrin, President of Lubbock Christian University, Convener

  • Gerald Turner, President of Southern Methodist University, Presenter
  • John deSteiguer, President of Oklahoma Christian University, Panelist
  • Randy Lowry, President of Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Michael Williams, President of Faulkner University, Panelist
  • Phil Schubert, President of Abilene Christian University, Panelist 

This session will explore what it means to be a Christian university in the current cultural milieu. President Gerald Turner of SMU will share insights on the place and important role of Christian colleges within the world of higher education and a panel of presidents from Church of Christ-related institutions will engage in conversation about the challenges they face and opportunities they see as they lead their universities into the future.

"Stories That Need to Be Told: Engaging Students in Storytelling"

Sarah Gibson, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Bob Turner, Harding University, Panelist
  • Hannah Wood, Harding University, Panelist
  • Elizabeth Rivera, Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Sarah Gibson, Lipscomb University, Panelist

Within archives and special collections, there are many stories needing to be told. It is important that faculty help students develop a passion for this type of research and facilitate the act of giving a voice to the voiceless. This panel will discuss how faculty are engaging students in storytelling through a variety of mediums. Archivists and librarians will share what pedagogies they find to be most effective when conducting primary original research, with a particular focus on undergraduate students.

 

GENDER AND WOMEN'S STUDIES

“Gendered Structures, Trauma Survivors, and Attitudes toward Gender Roles”

Kristina Davis, Abilene Christian University, Convener  

  • Sandra J. Valdes-Lopez, Boston University, Panelist
  • Cherisse Flanagan, Abilene Christian University, Panelist
  • Lynette Sharp Penya, Abilene Christian University, Panelist 
  • Kholo Theledi, Abilene Christian University, Panelist
  • Suzanne Macaluso, Abilene Christian University, Respondent

These panelists discuss the effects of gendered structures on both trauma survivors and adherents in conservative religious contexts. Panelists examine predictors of gender-role attitudes in the United States and South Africa, exploring differences among these groups. Additionally, they investigate the effects of such attitudes on both self-esteem and anger. They also address how gender construction has shaped the evolution of forgiveness models and how excavating the influence of gender supports the development of a forgiveness model conversant with justice concerns for survivors. Implications for forgiveness pastoral care ministry with trauma survivors is also discussed.

 

LAW AND JUSTICE

“Liberty and Justice (and Free Expression) for All: The Challenge and Promise of the First Amendment” 

Cheryl Mann Bacon, Abilene Christian University, Convener and Moderator  

  • Kenneth Pybus, Abilene Christian University, Journalism and Mass Communication, Panelist
  • Brad Reid, Lipscomb University, Business and Corporate Governance and Integrity, Panelist
  • Andy Little, Abilene Christian University, Business Law Panelist
  • Bobby Ross, The Christian Chronicle, Correspondent Panelist

The First Amendment promises freedom of religion, press, speech, assembly and petition.  Exercise of these freedoms has grown increasingly controversial as various justice movements seek to deny liberties to others in conflict with established law and precedent.  A panel of attorneys and journalists will examine at least three pressure points from today’s current events:  expression and defamation on Twitter; the move in academic environments to limit offensive speech; and coerced commercial speech particularly in the context of new campus carry legislation.

 

MATHEMATICS

“Innovative Teaching Practices in Mathematics”

Brian Fisher, Lubbock Christian University, Convener

  • Deborah Duke, Harding University, "A Classroom Drama"
  • Paul Howard, Oklahoma Christian University, "Bringing Philosophical Issues to the Classroom"
  • Zackery Reed, Oregon State University, "Encouraging Student Ownership of Mathematics"

Mathematics plays a central role in postsecondary curriculum both because of its intrinsic beauty and its essential role in the fields of science and business. At the same time, individuals must be mathematically literate to obtain full access to the economic world in which we live. Central to the improvement of mathematical literacy is developing materials and practices that best create an environment for learning in the classroom. This panel shares ideas on innovations in teaching mathematics and discusses questions regarding the importance of mathematics in the college curriculum and its role in preparing students for life beyond the classroom.

 

MISSIONS

“The Contours of Mission in North America” 

Greg McKinzie, Fuller Theological Seminary, Convener

  • Kent Smith, Abilene Christian University, “Ecosystems of Grace: An Old Vision for the New Church”
  • Fred Liggin, 3e Restoration, Inc., “Hospitality as Witness and Power: the Role of Hospitality in Congregational Engagement and Embrace in a Culture of Displacement”
  • Gailyn Van Rheenen, Mission Alive, “Is Missional a Fad?”
  • J. R. Rozko, Missio Alliance, Respondent

Many consider the context of the Unites Sates to be postmodern, anti-institutional, and even post-Christian. Traditional ecclesiologies are undoubtedly faltering, whatever the case. What does such a context mean for mission? Perhaps planting new churches is the future—but what sorts of churches? Perhaps the missional renewal of existing congregations or traditions is the best way forward, but this too is a contested idea. Due to these urgent questions, the theology and practice of church planting and mission in the Western context are rapidly evolving, and scholarship in these fields continues to grow apace. This session features Stone-Campbell scholars and practitioners engaging with the wider discourse about the contours of mission in North America.

“The Legacy of Mission Journal: Reflections for a Missional Future”

Ben Langford, Oklahoma Christian University, Convener

  • Bob Turner, Harding School of Theology, Interviewer 
  • Ben Langford, Oklahoma Christian University, Panelist
  • David Lemley, Pepperdine University, Panelist
  • Brad McKinnon, Heritage Christian University, Panelist
  • Don Haymes, Respondent

Three panelists will briefly articulate the legacy of Mission journal from a historical perspective and reflect on its significance for the future of Churches of Christ. Former Mission editors and contributors will respond to these perspectives in light of their experiences with the journal. This discussion will serve as the point of departure for an oral history of Mission that Missio Dei Foundation hopes to publish by CSC 2017, in commemoration of the journal’s 50th anniversary.

“Making the Missional Turn among Churches of Christ in North America” 

Mark Love, Rochester College, Convener

  • Kelly Carter, Alberta Bible College, “Trinity and Missionality for Churches of Christ”
  • Mark Love, Rochester College, “Practices as Participation in the Life of God”
  • Greg McKinzie, Fuller Theological Seminary, “Doing Justice to the Text: A Missional Hermeneutic of Embodied Participation”
  • Phil Kenneson, Milligan College, Respondent

Missional theology has become a major movement in Western theology, not least in North America. Its rapid and widespread appropriation has generated diverse and conflicting accounts of missional themes and concepts—a development characteristic of paradigm shifts. Yet, amid the ambiguity, the missional turn marks the emergence of a compelling theological agenda for the twenty-first century. This session is dedicated to exploring missional scholarship in order to make constructive proposals that might contribute to a theological vision for Churches of Christ as the tradition participates in the mission of God.

 

MODERN AMERICAN CHURCH

“Changing Attitudes about Spanking Using Alternative Biblical Interpretations” 

Steve Rouse, Pepperdine University, Convener 

  • Robin Perrin, Pepperdine University
  • Cindy Miller-Perrin, Pepperdine University
  • Jeongbin Song, Pepperdine University
  • Ron Bruner, Executive Director, Westview Boys’ Home, Respondent
  • Shannon Rains, Abilene Christian University, Respondent
  • Denis Thomas, Lipscomb University, Respondent
  • Alan Cope, Asbury Theological Seminary, Panelist 

Research has demonstrated a strong connection between conservative Christian religious orientations and more frequent use and support of spanking. Because spanking is associated with behavior problems in children as well as risk of child maltreatment, several interventions have been successfully implemented to change attitudes about spanking. However, such interventions have primarily focused on disseminating research findings on spanking outcomes and not addressed the need to consider the practice within the context of religious beliefs.  An empirical study examining an intervention to change attitudes toward spanking will be described and an interdisciplinary panel will respond from the perspectives of various scholarly disciplines.

“Memoirs and Vision for the Church”

Gayle Crowe, World Christian Broadcasting, Convener

  • Jack Scott¸ California State Senator; Chancellor, California Community 
  • Alfred Jumper, Anesthesiologist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles 
  • Paul Watson, Minister and Elder Emeritus, Cole Mill Church of Christ, Durham, North Carolina, Panelist 
  • Jason Fikes, Director, ACU Press, Respondent.

“Think of us in this way,” wrote Paul to the Corinthian church, “as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.”  Each of those whose lives have been spent ministering to the church as servants of Christ came to their ministries in unique ways.  This panel—and others like it in future years—will allow noted scholars and senior ministers to reflect on what it was that framed their approach to “God’s mysteries” and led them to serve God’s people.  Each will conclude by casting their vision for what discipleship might look like in future years.

“The Resources Preachers Use: Survey Results of Church of Christ Preachers”

Dave Bland, Harding School of Theology, Convener

  • Dave Bland, Harding School of Theology
  • Bob Turner, Harding School of Theology
  • Steven Hovater, Cedar Lane Church of Christ, Tullahoma, TN, Respondent 
  • Steve Rouse, Pepperdine University, Respondent
  • Kevin Owen, College Hills Church of Christ, Lebanon, TN

Five hundred and fifty preachers responded to a survey conducted among Church of Christ preachers identifying the resources they used and methods they practiced in preparing and delivering weekly sermons. The survey inquired about commentaries, translations of the Bible, journals, books, blogs, and technology used to prepare for weekly Sunday sermons. In addition, the survey inquired into methods used in delivering sermons. This session presents the results of that survey and offers an interpretation. Respondents will critique the survey from various perspectives.

“Same Book, but Different Bookmarks: Religious Fundamentalism, Personality, and Bible Verses” 

Dave Lemley, Pepperdine University, convener  

  • Steve Rouse, Pepperdine University, “Same Book, but Different Bookmarks: Religious Fundamentalism, Personality, and Bible Verses”
  • Todd Brennemann, Faulkner University, American Religious History, Respondent
  • Tom Robinson, Manhattan Church of Christ, NY, Ministry, Respondent
  • Daniel Morrison, Vanderbilt University, Respondent

Christians with high and low levels of religious fundamentalism ground their faiths in a common sacred text, but they hold diametrically opposing views on socioreligious topics and issues. Our empirical research demonstrated that fundamentalist Christians describe some Biblical verses as being more central to their faith, while nonfundamentalist Christians prioritize others. Preliminary analyses also suggest that stable personality traits systematically relate to the Bible verses described as most central to one's faith. These findings suggests that the themes and passages one comes to emphasize within the Bible are systematically related to the general worldview through which one reads the text.

 

NEW TESTAMENT

"Not with Wisdom of Words: Nonrational Persuasion in the New Testament"

Richard Goode, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Gary Selby, Pepperdine, Panelist
  • Paul Casner, Donelson Presbyterian, Nashville, TN, Panelist
  • Gregory Hohnholt, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox, Nashville, TN, Panelist
  • Gene Manning, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, TN, Panelist

In his incisive new book, Gary Selby illustrates how the language of the New Testament aims at more than an intellectual response to argumentation. Rather, using poetry, hymns, vision, and drama, the NT draws believers into vivid, “extrarational” religious experiences, experiences that are crucial to sustaining faith. Stated otherwise, the faith inspired by NT writings surpasses “rational responses to logical proofs,” provoking imaginative, numinous, and life altering encounters with the living God. A diverse and respected panel will engage both the practical and theoretical contributions of Selby’s perceptive work. With an eye toward the “parish and pulpit,” reviewers will emphasize the gifts of Not with Words of Wisdom for the academy and congregations.

“Paradigms for the Study of Paul” 

Jim Bury, Harding University, Convener

  • Wendell Willis, Abilene Christian University, “Paul versus the Roman Empire”
  • Jerry Sumney, Lexington Theological Seminary, “Paul and Other Christianities”
  • Carl Holladay, Emory University, Respondent

This session examines some of the big-picture paradigms used in study of Paul today. Behind the exegesis and interpretation of Paul’s letters there lie certain important starting points. These are not simple opinions, but key reconstructions of the matrix of Paul’s thought that serve to guide the study of individual letters and their verses. The purpose of this session is to examine two of such paradigms, by exploring their basis and their influences in the study of Paul.

 

OLD TESTAMENT

"Illuminating Job: A Review Session of the Commentary on Job by Choon-Leong Seow"

Mark Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • C. L. Seow, Vanderbilt University, Respondent
  • J. J. M. Roberts, Princeton Theological Seminary (Emeritus), Panelist
  • James Crenshaw, Vanderbilt University, Panelist
  • Mark Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, Panelist
  • Jennifer Green, Refugee Family Literary Program, Friends of Refugees, Clarkston, GA, Panelist

The book of Job has long captivated readers with its intellectual rigor, poetic beauty, and existential weightiness.  In his major new commentary on Job, C. L. Seow has examined the poetry of Job as well as the long and rich history of its reception in order to make sense of this work as it seeks to make sense of human experiences.  Professor Seow will discuss his work and the book of Job itself, and will engage his fellow panelists in a wide-ranging discussion of both.  Professors Crenshaw, Roberts, and Hamilton will join the conversation as it explores this book and its implications for theology today.

The 2016 J. J. M. Roberts Lecture in Old Testament Studies 

Rick Marrs, Pepperdine University, and Mark Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, Conveners

  • F.W. Dobbs-Allsopp, Princeton Theological Seminary: “Isaiah’s Love Song: A Reading of Isa 5:1-7"

In Ezek 33:30-33, Yahweh likens the prophet to a literal “singer of love songs,” a skilled musician (lit. “one who plays pleasantly”) with a “beautiful voice” performing before a live audience, whose (good, pretty, cf. Ps 45:2) words are heard but not acted on. The Song of Songs, of course, offers the Bible's most obvious examples of what such love poetry was like. But Isa 5:1-7 remains of interest for a variety of reasons. If genuine to Isaiah of Jerusalem, it provides relatively early evidence (ca. eighth century) for the knowledge of love poetry in Judah (e.g., roughly contemporary with the Akkadian “Love Lyrics of Nabu and Tasmetu,” IM 3233 = TIM 9 54 = SAA 3 14). It also evidences in scope, the same relatively brief scale that typifies most love poems from the ancient East. And this Isaianic lampoon seems to trade on the very same awareness of the allure of the lyrical that informs the Ezekiel passage. In the close reading of Isa 5:1-7 that follows I track the lyricism of Isaiah’s lampoon, situating it against the backdrop of ancient love poetry generally and following its logic of love through to its prophetic end—justice and righteousness.

 

PATRISTICS

The Third Annual Everett Ferguson Lecture in Early Christian Studies

Jeff Childers, Abilene Christian University, Tera Harmon, Abilene Christian University, Ron Heine, Northwest Christian University, Trevor W. Thompson, University of Chicago, Conveners

  • Sidney H. Griffith, S.T., Professor Emeritus, The Catholic University of America, “Christians at Home in the ‘World of Islam’: The Legacy of Christian Theology in Arabic”

The earliest records of the Greek and Syriac-speaking, Oriental Christians’encounters with the Qur’an and with Islam come from the early years of the eighth century AD.  By the middle of the century, many of these Christians, living within the territories of the Arab conquest of their homelands that took place during the middle third of the seventh century AD, had already adopted Arabic as their public language.  They began to translate portions of the Bible and other ecclesiastical texts into Arabic, and Arabic-speaking, Christian scholars began the long tradition of doing theology in Arabic within parameters largely determined by the Qur’an and in the Arabic idiom of the then burgeoning Islamic religious sciences, particularly the apologetically oriented film al-kalam, Islamic systematic theology.
After a very quick overview of the main lines of the development of Christian theology in Arabic up to the early years of the 14th century AD, the presentation highlights central topics such as the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the divine Son-ship of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, in the works of one or two representative theologians, emphasizing how they apologetically, and even polemically, mapped their discourse on the topical outlines, vocabulary, and thought patterns found in the works of contemporary Muslim religious thinkers.  In the conclusion, the presentation explores ways in which contemporary Christian thinkers encountering the challenge of Islam might learn from the earlier experience of the Arabic-speaking Christian theologians at home in the World of Islam as in the twenty-first century we learn to do Christian theology within the purview of Islam.

“Scripture, the Cross, and the Son: Contested Religious Traditions in the Middle East” 

Jeff Childers, Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • James Walters, Rochester College, “Whose Scripture? Aphrahat’s Hermeneutic of Reversal in the Hebrew Bible” 
  • Mark Weedman, Johnson University, “Revisiting Ephrem’s Trinitarian Theology” 
  • Kelli Gibson, Abilene Christian University, “Feasts and Forensics: John of Dara’s Defense of the Veneration of the Cross”

The papers in this session examine key facets of contested religious thought in three different eastern contexts: the struggle to define Christian orthodoxy in the eastern Roman empire in late antiquity; the struggle between Christians and Jews over the right to interpret scripture in 4th-century Persia; and the struggle to inhabit Christian identity in the Muslim context of the early Abassid period.

 

POP CULTURE, LITERATURE, AND FAITH

“Justice in the Novels of Toni Morrison:  Reading Morrison in Light of the Black Lives Matter Movement” 

Susan Blassingame, Abilene Christian University, Convener 

  • Ronna Privett, Lubbock Christian University, “The [In]Justice of Sethe’s Punishment in Toni Morrison’s Beloved”
  • Steven T. Moore, Abilene Christian University, “The Death of Unarmed Black Men: The Prophetic Voice of Toni Morrison in The Bluest Eye”
  • Susan Blassingame, Lubbock Christian University, “Justice and the Seven Days:  Racism and Retribution in Morrison’s Song of Solomon”
  • Norma J Burgess, Lipscomb University, Respondent  

Toni Morrison: visionary, critic, and historian of our uncertain times. In her 2015 essay in The New York Times Magazine, “The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison,” Rachel Ghansah ponders the epic nature of Morrison’s eleven novels, saying her writing is “less of a history and more of a liturgy, still stretching across geographies and time.” Novels of slavery, stories of civil rights, tales of contemporary men and women – all illustrate the world as Morrison observes, or as Ghansah captures Morrison’s themes: “This is how we pray, this is how we escape, this is how we hurt, this is how we repent, this is how we move on.” Morrison’s novels offer an uneasy discussion of justice and race, particularly in light of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

“Justice in World Literature: International Contexts, Contrasts, and Conflicts” 

Darryl Tippens, Abilene Christian University: Convener

  • Jeanine B. Varner, Abilene Christian University: “The Language of Justice in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart”
  • Steve Weathers, Abilene Christian University: “J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace: Jurisprudential Gulfs and Continental Drift”
  • Beatriz Alem-Walker, Abilene Christian University: “Theater as the Voice of Justice: Benedetti's Paradigm in Pedro y el Capitán”
  • Carole Carroll, Lubbock Christian University: Respondent

The world’s literature constitutes a record of humanity’s highest ideals, noblest aspirations, and bitterest disappointments. Not surprisingly, justice proves a recurring theme, though its conception is inevitably nuanced and inflected by the culture, social context, and chronological setting of the author giving voice to this concern. A study of imaginative literature’s engagement with competing and complementary visions of justice, therefore, broadens beneficially the reader’s understanding of the variegated ways in which humanity has attempted to conceive and conserve viable systems of ethics. Conflict arising when those systems collide, too, proves instructive, prompting searching reflections on what we mean, precisely, when we speak of the just life.

“Major Book Review: Dyron B. Daughrity, To Whom Does Christianity Belong?: Critical Issues in World Christianity” 

Yukikazu Obata, Convener

  • Yukikazu Obata, Fuller Theological Seminary, Reviewer
  • Gary Holloway, World Convention, Reviewer
  • Jeremy Hegi, Boston University, Reviewer
  • Dyron Daughrity, Pepperdine University, Respondent

World Christianity is emerging as an academic discipline, and Dyron Daughrity (Associate Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University) has launched a timely and promising series (Fortress Press), entitled “Understanding World Christianity.” To Whom Does Christianity Belong? is its introductory volume. While the book skillfully introduces the wide spectrum of theological and sociological issues involved in the discipline, it also provokes questions such as “To whom does the Stone-Campbell Movement belong?” and “What does it mean to claim the Stone-Campbell identity in the global South?” The reviewers will discuss the book from perspectives pertaining to the movement, as well as missiology and world Christianity studies, followed by Daughrity’s response.

“Navigating the Task of Theology in Conversation with the Work of Sarah Coakley” 

Rhonda Lowry, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Frederick Aquino, Abilene Christian University, Panelist
  • Kathy Pulley, Missouri State University, Panelist
  • Landon Saunders, Heartbeat Ministries and Lipscomb University, Panelist
  • Greg Sterling, Yale Divinity School, Panelist

In her book, God, Sexuality, and the Self (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Sarah Coakley sets forth a “more excellent way” of conceiving the task of theology than two false and popular alternatives (secularism and fideism). The scope of her proposal is both interdisciplinary in nature and deeply immersed in the resources of the Christian tradition. Along these lines, this session will focus on the cultural, theological, philosophical, and ecclesial contours of Coakley’s proposal, as well as explore constructive possibilities for taking up the task of theology within the Restoration Movement.

"Pre-Conference Screening: Spotlight" 

The 2016 Christian Scholars Conference is pleased to present Spotlight -- winner of the the 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture -- on the eve of this year's gathering. Also taking honors for Best Original Screenplay, Spotlight tells the story of the Boston Globe's intense investigative reporting about the cover-up of clerical abuse in Boston. The film raises important questions about institutional power and truth-telling -- even when the institution is the church itself. Spotlight screens Tuesday, June 7, at 6:30 pm in Lipscomb's Ward Hall. The screening is free and open to the public.

"Until it Hurts: Muscular Christianity, Sculpted Identity, and Concussion - A Conversation Begins"

Steven Bonner, Lubbock Christian University, Convener 

  • Josh Fleer, Oakland University, "Stubby and Strenuous Christians: Football and Male Aggressiveness in Progressive Era Muscular Christianity."
  • Monica Williams, Lubbock Christian University, "Role of Sport in Sculpting Identity: an Interactionist Theory and Personal Narrative."
  • Jeff Paxton, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, "Examination of Ethics in Sports Medicine through the Lens of the Movie Concussion."
  • Mark Wiebe, Lubbock Christian University, respondent

The movie Concussion brought to the forefront of our consciousness the reality and damaging effects of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Psychologists, developmentalists, neurologists, and former athletes are publicly calling for change. The response of the church, though, is largely silence. Has the church fallen into subjective self-deception that ignores the problems in order to enjoy the game? Is the church complicit in its silence? This session will begin the conversation by examining the history of muscular Christianity, the role of sport in shaping identity in athletes, and an examination of ethical theories in relation to the medical care of athletes.

 

SCIENCE AND FAITH

"Uncovering the Inner Lives of Electrons"

George D. Parks, FuelScience LLC, Convener

  • Paul W. Ayers, McMaster University, "Uncovering the Inner Lives of Electrons"
  • George D. Parks, Lipscomb University, respondent
  • Austin Privett, Lipscomb University, respondent

What happens when two substances are mixed together? Does a chemical reaction occur? If so, which chemical bonds are broken? What new chemical bonds are formed? Can we increase the efficiency of the reaction by changing the conditions under which it occurs? Questions like these lie at the core of chemistry. Addressing them requires understanding, at a fundamental level, how the electrons that bind atoms into molecules rearrange during the course of a chemical reaction and, more subtly, how different molecular environments influence these rearrangements. Therefore, in order to understand the nature of the chemical bond, and to master the chemical reactions by which chemical bonds are fractured and formed, we must uncover the inner lives of electrons.

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE

“'72143': Studying Community Poverty Through the Interdisciplinary Avenues of Food, Housing, and Education”

Andrew Baker, Harding University, Convener

  • Heath Carpenter, Harding University, Panelist
  • Jim Miller, Harding University, Panelist
  • Kathy Helpenstill, Harding University, Panelist
  • Terry Davis, Compassion 21, Montgomery Alabama, Panelist
  • Mike Williams, Faulkner University, Panelist

In Fall 2015, the departments of Business, Communication, Social Work, and Leadership and Ministry, and the Harding chapter of The Roosevelt Institute all combined their efforts to create an opportunity for students to study poverty in White County, Arkansas through the lenses of education and food and housing insecurity. The semester aimed at laying the groundwork for future student involvement in which Harding students and faculty partner with local businesses, politicians, non-profits and churches to address the community’s most pressing needs.  This panel proposes to present a model by which universities can pool their talents to pursue social justice in their communities.

"Free Burma Rangers: A Battle for Displaced People"

Jonathan Thorndike, Belmont University Honors Program, Moderator

  • Don Cusic, Belmont University, "Free Burma Rangers: A Battle for Displaced People"
  • Audience, respondents

The Free Burma Rangers are a humanitarian/missionary group operating out of Chiang Mai, Thailand, helping Burmese citizens who have been attacked by the Burmese Army.  They are a Christian group but do not limit themselves to evangelism, although evangelism is part of their mission.  Their intent is to help those Burmese who need help, and membership in their organization is not limited to Christians.  Their vision is "to free the oppressed and to stand for human dignity, justice, and reconciliation in Burma."  Dave Eubank, a former Army Ranger, formed this organization in 1997 during the Burma Army offensives during the 1990s. Burma (Myanmar) is in a key geographical location--between India and China--which means they will plan a key role in the global future.

"Let Justice Roll Down: Social Justice Pedagogy in the Christian University"

Vic McCracken, Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • Debbie Williams, Abilene Christian University, Participant
  • Pat Garner, Harding University, Participant
  • Thomas Kleinart, Vine Street Christian Church, Participant
  • Trey Shirley, Abilene Christian University, Participant

How do Christian teachers orient students to diverse theories about justice? How do we equip students to become effective contributors to social justice work? This panel session will feature conversation among teacher-scholars from several Christian universities exploring the topic of social justice pedagogy. Panel participants will explore best practices for teaching about social justice, attending to both in-class pedagogy and paracurricular practices that cultivate student commitment to social justice work.

“Meeting Needs in Community Health Care through Service, Mission, and Volunteerism”

Jonathan Thorndike, Belmont University Honors Program, Convener and Organizer

  • Gracia Amaya, Lipscomb University
  • Jessica Brennan, Lipscomb University
  • Jan Bian and Jackson Higginbottom, Oklahoma Christian University
  • Rebecca Hall, Belmont University
  • Julia Sherwood, Belmont University
  • Emily Tomsovic, Belmont University

In an annual session that highlights the work of young scholars who are considering an academic career pursuing “the life of the mind,” seven honors students respond to the prompt: How has your experience as an honors student at a Christian university informed your decision to pursue a career in Nursing, Medicine, Social Work, Pharmacy, or other health-related fields?  For example, have you responded to issues of underserved communities, economic inequality, racial discrimination, or inadequate health care resources in your community?  Have you been on missions specifically designed to address medical needs?  How does a Christian College better equip you to “carry each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” and respond with justice and mercy to unmet needs? Does a faith-based education provide a better foundation for working in health care fields, and if so, how?

“Story-Based Social Justice”

Rob Touchstone, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • Kerry Patterson and Caleb Meeks, Lipscomb University, “Story-Based Learning in Humanitarian Engineering”
  • Russell Dabbs, Lubbock Christian University, “Solzhenitsyn and Social Justice”
  • Rob Touchstone, Lipscomb University, “The Z’ekahnomics of Business As Mission”

In teaching 21st century college students, story-telling stands among the most compelling approaches to instruction. In this session, our presenters will bring their story-telling experiences in business, engineering and computing courses. The challenge we face here is how to simultaneously address discipline topics and social justice in a holistic way.

 

 

Paper Abstracts

 

Beatriz Alem-Walker, Abilene Christian University, “Theater as the Voice of Justice: Benedetti’s Paradigm in Pedro y el Capitán,” 
A society’s present reality is shaped by its past, and it is impossible to create a sense of social cohesion without recognizing the events that have created and shaped the present. Reflection on this national past, then, is valuable. Novelist, poet, and playwright Mario Benedetti, one of those reflective individuals, has written the incredible dialog between a political prisoner and his executioner, bringing forth a new paradigm, one establishing theater as the voice of justice. Benedetti’s Pedro y el Capitán, by revisiting Uruguay’s tragic past, carries a powerful message: There are no winners in a world without justice.

 

 

Gracia Amaya, Lipscomb University, “Meeting Needs in Community Health Care Through Service, Mission, and Volunteerism”
Christian education focuses on the importance of serving others.  Service to others has the potential to positively affect the community, but service guided by Christian faith can transform a community as it works towards the goal of achieving the Kingdom of God.  Health care is one of the most important fields that serves people in their most vulnerable state of existence.  An education that instructs in the love of Christ and the love we should have for others teaches future health care providers about the moral obligations each of us have for maintenance of community well-being. 

 

 

 

Clifford Anderson, Vanderbilt University, “A Christian Perspective on the Commercialization of Traditional Knowledge”
The global economy increasingly relies on intellectual property rights to foster the development of new products and services. Copyrights, patents, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property protection prove problematic, however, when commercializing indigenous knowledge. How can mission-driven organizations navigate the nexus of intellectual property and social justice? Drawing on the theology of Abraham Kuyper, I contend that the interplay between common and particular grace offers a means for balancing firms' commercial interests in intellectual property with justice and respect for the knowledge and traditions of indigenous peoples.

 

 

 

Ben Baker, CareHere LLC, Brentwood, TN, “Business as Formation and Mission” 
“Business is business.”  “It’s a dog eat dog world.”  “Only the strong survive.”  These are just a few well-known clichés in the world of business.  Is there room for us to “treat others as you would like to be treated” or “think more highly of others than you do of yourself?” Are Christian businesspeople open to seeing their work as mission?  Can work, that place where we spend so much of our lives with others, be the platform for both personal spiritual formation and living out our faith as Christ if he were in our place?  

 

 

 

Jan Bian and Jackson Higginbottom, Oklahoma Christian University, “Meeting Needs in Community Health Care through Service, Mission, and Volunteerism”
Eagles Health Initiative is a co-curricular student organization focused on serving the Oklahoma Christian University community and the surrounding populations. We founded EHI because we saw a need in our OCU community in the areas of mental, physical, and spiritual health.  In our paper, we hope to shed light on the neglected health trends on college campuses and provide ways to counteract these pressing issues.  Receiving a faith-based education at OCU has enabled students to see important areas of health maintenance that sometimes go unaddressed on college campuses, including spiritual and mental health.

 

 

 

Susan Blassingame, Lubbock Christian University, “Justice and the Seven Days:  Racism and Retribution in Morrison’s Song of Solomon
In Song of Solomon, Milkman Dead, the protagonist, listens in amazement and fear as his best friend, Guitar Baines, tells him an awful secret: Guitar is a member of the Seven Days, a vigilante group that seeks justice when black men, women, and children are killed. Each member is assigned a day; if someone is killed in racial violence, that member must plan and execute a similar killing: “for balance.”  Guitar explains, “It’s about how you live and why. . . . It’s about trying to make a world where one day white people will think before they lynch.” In light of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Morrison’s novel takes on special significance as readers think about and discuss race relations more than fifty years after the Civil Rights Act.

 

 

 

Dave Bland, Harding School of Theology, “Creation, Character, and Wisdom”
Rooted in creation theology, Wisdom Literature provides a unique perspective on the interrelationship between humans and creation. The common denominator in the biblical sages’ relationship with creation is wonder. Wonder acts as a bond to connect humans to non-human creation, and restraining humans from exploiting creation. When we stand in awe before creation realizing we can never completely understand nor control it, we respect it, and begin to find ways to responsibly interact with the world God created.

 

 

 

Andy Borchers and Beki Baker, Lipscomb University, “Shakespeare and Leadership”
In their book, Power Plays, Tina Packer and John Whitney state, "William Shakespeare probed more deeply into the problems of leadership than anyone before him and most who came after him." Their work serves as a base for an innovative undergraduate honors literature course on Shakespeare and Leadership. Jointly taught by theater and business faculty, the course examines leadership through the lens of Shakespeare's characters and plays. Themes include "Power: for Good and for Evil", "All the World's a Stage: Business as Theater" and "The Search Within: Integrating Values, Vision, Mission and Strategy".

 

 

 

David Bosch, Boyce: The College at Southern, “Findings from a Business as Mission Field Study”
The purpose of this paper is to communicate the findings of an exploratory, qualitative field study of several microenterprises operating as BAMs in restricted access countries that have an objective of alleviating poverty. Poverty is more than the lack of economic capital. Rather, poverty is multi-faceted impacting not just an individual’s and a community’s economic capital, but also their social and spiritual capital. This research involved investigating and understanding issues around start-up (planning, funding, understanding of the market, etc.), the experience and readiness of the entrepreneurial team for holistic work, and measuring impact and effectiveness.

 

 

 

Jessica Brennan, Lipscomb University, “Meeting Needs in Community Health Care through Service, Mission, and Volunteerism”
I will discuss the opportunities for growth that arise from being in an Honors College at a Christian university.  I will identify areas where heath care students have the potential to learn from challenges and tests of character that point toward the use of the talents and gifts God has given providers to live out His calling.  Through experiences in service, international mission, and a desire to build community, I will explore the ways in which the college experience and aiming for a profession in the health care field can be the foundations of a life lived for the Lord.

 

 

 

Patricia H. Brock, Lipscomb University, “The Long-term Effects of Racism on Reconciliation”  
This paper’s research explores possible reasons and effects of racism on reconciliation and reasons why the church has failed at modeling God’s reconciled community on earth. It examines opinions of a group of interviewed persons on the subject of racism, reconciliation, and the church and reveals society’s pain that the church has seemingly lost its desire to help people groups dialogue about effective solutions. Questions are posed about God’s exclusivity in choosing a particular race/culture, God’s involvement in racial issues and reconciliation, God’s plan for the church, and Jesus’ mandate to love self, neighbor, and enemy.

 

Orneita Burton and Alfa Nyandoro, Abilene Christian University, “A Design Thinking Approach to Assessing Economic and Social Justice in America”
This research focuses on the need to capture and regulate individual intent by incorporating a multidisciplinary approach to the design of information technologies that support public systems. We propose using a design thinking approach to address a complex social construct by drawing on the disciplines of engineering, the social sciences and information technology to reveal patterns within different population segments and to define how they impact socio-economic trends over time. The intended outcome from this research is to highlight the socio-economic impact of these patterns and illustrate the importance of employing socially-engineered solutions that inform policies, regulations and legislation on distinct population segments.

 

Thomas Cairns, Azusa Pacific University, Bethany Johnson, Point Loma Nazarene University, Jeffrey Purganan, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Nicole Morales, Point Loma Nazarene University, “A Business Model for Solving Social Issues and Matters of Faith”
The changes in social, political and legal environments concerning same-sex marriage has ignited a debate among Christian universities causing many to reaffirm a biblical view while others are adopting policies that allow the hiring of practicing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals. This paper focuses on this divisive social issue and offers a business decision-making model for those Christian universities and other faith-based organizations providing alternative/solutions to social issues and matters of faith.

 

Kelly Carter, Alberta Bible College,? “Trinity and Missionality for Churches of Christ”
This paper will discuss the fact that the notions of missio Dei and missionality have for decades been intimately connected to the Trinity and to Trinitarian theology, but Churches of Christ have been little impacted by this connection. This is due to the relatively distanced position of Churches of Christ from both missionality and Trinitarian theology.  In response, the specifics concerning a void with respect to Trinitarian theology in Churches of Christ need identification and attention so that this theological lacuna may be filled, leading to missional possibilities for Churches of Christ. Then, given their history and ethos, what are the ways in which the connection between missionality and Trinitarian theology could and should specifically manifest itself in Stone-Campbell churches overtly expressing a Trinitarian theology?

 

Kenan Casey, Freed-Hardeman University, "Integrating Social Justice into Computer Science Pedagogy"
This session explores innovative approaches for integrating social justice and faith-centered goals into project-based software development courses. Many faith-affiliated CS programs are seeking to make a meaningful impact on society through curriculum-based software development. Such efforts support student learning and also encourage learners to design and develop projects promoting social good. This presentation examines the unique practical benefits and the pedagogical challenges of this teaching strategy. Sample projects include a KickStarter-inspired site focused on sharing and meeting community needs and a reimagined implementation of the controversial social network Yik Yak.

 

Wade Casey, Abilene Christian University, “Love as Self-Sacrifice: A Study of Augustine’s Sermons on 1 John”
In Homilies on the First Epistle of John Augustine commends love to his audience and calls the virtue the foundation of Christian faith. Augustine suggests a “perfection” of love occurs when one is willing to “lay down” her life for another, particularly when the other is an enemy. According to Augustine, the arduous nature of loving another (especially an enemy) requires practicing certain disciplines. What unifies Augustine's process towards and description of perfect love is a kenotic ethic rooted in Jesus Christ. In this way, the Homilies on First John challenge contemporary accounts of Augustinian love, especially Eric Gregory’s, that downplay an emphasis on love as self-sacrifice.

 

Ross Cochran, Harding University, “The Theology of Heartbeat: The Ministry of Landon B. Saunders.”
By anyone’s measure Landon Saunders is conducting a unique ministry. Through films, seminars, books, and other products Heartbeat seeks to speak a word of good news to those persons in North America who are the least likely to be reached by the church, and to do so using speech that connects with common people, that they hear gladly, and that they don’t immediately associate with the professionally religious.  But how does one get from the biblical message delivered to believers in religious language to a message delivered to non-religious persons using non-religious language? What are the theological tenets that have guided Landon’s ministry, and what are the ministry attempts that have shaped Landon’s theology?

 

John Crawford, Lipscomb University, “Enabling the Unethical Business”
Among the many ethical dilemmas that firms face is whether to do business with firms that engage in unethical practices. One type of business that raises red flags is the payday loan industry. To successfully carry out its business, a payday loan company needs the help of other businesses. For instance, a payday loan firm needs to deliver informative and persuasive messages to potential customers. In addition, payday loan firms need the services of mainstream firms in the banking industry. How can managers refuse the revenue of the payday loan industry, a legal business, and justify doing so?

 

K. Scott CulpepperDordt College, “Beat the System: The Role of Contemporary Christian Music in Grooming Christian Youth for Cultural Conflict in the 1980s and 90s”
Many American evangelicals faced a changing culture in the late 1970s and 80s with apprehension.  A number of developments indicated that the winds were shifting against conservative evangelical perspectives on key social issues.  As conservative evangelicals mobilized to challenge these cultural shifts through political activism, two of their chief concerns were protecting Christian youth from the siren song of compromise and mobilizing them to stand for conservative Christian principles in their own arenas of influence.  This paper examines how Contemporary Christian artists in the 1980s and early 90s sought through their music and personal influence to instill conservative cultural values in young Christians as well as to inspire them to become cultural activists.  Attempts by Christian artists to deal with the concept of cultural conflict in their music were framed in the language and imagery of spiritual warfare in the mid to late 80s.  As the 80s gave way to the early 90s, the language and imagery of Christian musicians became more overt and specifically political rather than focusing on general cultural issues.  This paper will analyze the nature of that change in focus and how it related to a change in the overall political strategies of evangelical activists after the Pat Robertson presidential campaign of 1988 and the subsequent formation of the Christian Coalition.

 

Mark Cullum, Abilene Christian University, “The Fall and Today’s Christians’ Worldview”
I use John Harris' thoughtful essay as a springboard for further reflections on the theme of cultural decline.  I touch on such subjects as the culture war, class inequality, coarseness in popular culture, and academic lethargy.  I try to relate these topics to the Christian idea of the Fall of man and to the apparent worldview(s) of Christians today.  I note that criticism of capitalism has risen sharply of late despite the fact that capitalism worldwide has decreased poverty dramatically in recent decades.  I will cite recent writings by Roger Scruton, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Angus Deaton.

 

Russell Dabbs, Lubbock Christian University, “Solzhenitsyn and Social Justice”
The term “social justice” is widely used but ill-defined. Friedrich Hayek called it a “mirage,” the pursuit of which by totalitarian governments has victimized millions. One such victim was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who in a series of powerful works documented the Soviet system of terror and forced labor known as the “Gulag”—an institution in which he himself had been flung. This paper examines Solzhenitsyn as victim and prophet of social justice, arguing that though Solzhenitsyn would have agreed with Hayek on the totalitarian dangers of “social justice,” he would not have agreed that it was merely a “mirage.”

 

Christopher Davis, Harding University, “Interactional and Interpersonal Justice in the Virtual Classroom”
Technology is creating a paradigm shift in the virtual classroom. Students are forgoing traditional education models, higher tuition, and lengthy programs for tech-driven, cheaper, online programs. Unfortunately, virtual classrooms create unique social difficulties. Distance education can turn learning into an industrial production process void of human elements, increasing the likelihood of social alienation, anonymity and perceptions of reduced justice. To increase perceptions of interactional and interpersonal justice, professors must display emotional security, empathy, and intelligence; a greater willingness to experiment and test mental models; and foster collaborative relationships through the creation of a community rich in emotional and social intelligence.

 

Lindsay Dillingham, Lipscomb University, “Uncovering the Positive Side of Business: Teaching Brand Concepts via Philanthropic Exploration”
This discussion explores a non-profit experiential learning project by MBA marketing students. First, a description of this project should spurn discussion about how to show students the altruistic side of business disciplines. Second, this exercise offered an opportunity for students to explore philanthropic efforts of local businesses. Finally, the initial plan and intended learning outcomes of the project versus the necessary adjustments during the project progression underscore a key concept in teaching businessnamely, that the chronologically logical and departmentally separated nature of written material does not always accurately reflect the spontaneous, collaborative nature of business and marketing strategy decisions.

 

Christopher DoranPepperdine University, “Hope in an Age of Climate Change: Creation Care this Side of the Resurrection”
It is difficult to be hopeful concerning climate change news. While the Christian basis for hope is the resurrection of Jesus, unfortunately far too many American Christians do not connect this belief with the daily witness of their faith. This paper argues that the resurrection proclaims a notion of hope that should be the foundation of a theology of creation care that manifests itself explicitly in the daily lives of believers. A relevant church today must begin to think of itself as a beacon of hope in an era of so much ecological devastation.

 

Deborah Duke, Harding University, "A Classroom Drama"
A geometry class expands the mind by the study of logic and the development of axiomatic systems. It is also a natural setting for exploring centuries of difficulties faced by those who seek truth. For thousands of years, mathematicians conflicted with established political and religious thought when establishing mathematical truths. During our study of non-Euclidean geometry, in a classroom drama, students play these struggling mathematicians, learn about the past, and experience the challenges of mathematicians who often hid their findings in the face of injustice. We hope that students master the geometry involved and find determination to promote truth and justice.

 

Josh Fleer, Oakland University, "Stubby and Strenuous Christians: Football and Male Aggressiveness in Progressive Era Muscular Christianity."
Christian men were intimately and influentially involved in the formative development of football during the Progressive Era of American history. Men like Amos Alonzo Stagg, who trained for ministry, discovered that they could have a greater impact as coaches, and early engagement in the sport was often an outgrowth of church mission focused on the strenuous life of men like Stagg's "stubby Christians." This "muscular Christianity" emerged in tandem with increased emphasis on gendered and racial differentiation. This paper will explore this early history of football and the possible research trajectories surface.

 

Cherisse Flanagan and Lynette Sharp Penya, Abilene Christian University, “Gender-Role Attitudes, Self-Esteem, and Anger among Women in Churches of Christ”
Research indicates various factors, including religious fundamentalism, religious proscription, educational attainment, and experience with women in leadership roles, predict attitudes toward gender roles in conservative Christian contexts, and these gender-role attitudes predict disaffiliation. Recent research also indicates that religion has both positive and negative implications for mental health. However, prior research has not examined the relationship between adherents’ gender-role attitudes and psychological factors such as self-esteem and anger. Therefore, this research represents an initial investigation into the effects of gender-role attitudes on self-esteem and anger among women in a conservative Christian movement.

 

Doug Foster, Abilene Christian University, “Upholding God’s Order: How the White Church Created and Sustains White Supremacy in America” 
From anti-slavery and anti-lynching, to Civil Rights and exposure of the racism behind mass incarceration, white Christians have always played significant roles. Yet white supremacy and white racism, manifested in countless ways through deeply embedded systemic white privilege, continue largely unabated. This study examines how the white Church in America implemented white supremacist ideology and how it has sustained it, sometimes unconsciously, to the present, thus perpetuating one of the most serious and entrenched schisms in Christianity.

 

Gary Gardner, Mission UpReach, “The Moses Project”
Mission UpReach is "The John 1010 Generation: 1010 churches in 1010 villages" in this generation in Honduras. The Moses Project is a sustainable farm operation with a boarding school that serves 50 young men. Students receive spiritual training and learn farming practices while obtaining high school diplomas prior to returning to their villages. The farm includes coffee and fish farming as well as dairy and poultry production. This review of The Moses Project will share how organizations can include commercial practices with an outcomes framework; then couple those aspects with principles of the socio-ecological model for a sustainable evangelistic effort.

 

Chip Garrett, Attorney at Law and Faulkner University, "God’s Justices: Reflections on the Supreme Court’s Decision on Gay Marriage" 
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that state laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman are unconstitutional. Many Christians hyperventilated, and condemned the Court and our legal system. How does the Bible say that Christians should react to laws that permit (or seem to endorse) immoral behaviors? This paper explores the limited ability of our legal system to legislate morality and examines how laws do not automatically signal social approval. Further, it argues that not every law reflects God’s will, and may simply reflect what our society has already become.

 

Kelli Gibson, Abilene Christian University, “Feasts and Forensics: John of Dara’s Defense of the Veneration of the Cross”
The annual feast celebrating St. Helena’s discovery of the True Cross heralded the triumph of the Christian faith as the religio licita of the Roman Empire. After the Arab conquests, however, the Feast of the Discovery of the Cross called for more soul-searching than fanfare. Religious interlocutors now charged Christians with idolatry, in part because of their reverence for the cross. John of Dara’s ninth-century festal homily responds to this accusation, blending festal motifs with apologetic arguments to craft a homiletical defense of the veneration of the cross. This paper introduces John’s unpublished homily, the longest sustained argument of its kind from the early Abbasid period.

 

William L. Glass, Southern Methodist University, “The Nature of the Case: Aquinas, Anthropology, and the Rationale for Casuistry”
In this paper, I defend the need for casuistry in Christian moral theology by showing how it accords with a proper theological anthropology. Many theologians have charged that casuistry abstracts moral decisions from their contexts or separates Christian moral thought from its rootedness in the life of Christ or the Church. Following Aquinas, I will show how human conscience is always formed in a community of virtue. Thus, if the community's virtues contradict charity, only a kind of abstraction will allow for needed critical traction and reorientation of moral horizons around Christ. For this reorientation, casuistry is an essential practice.

 

George Goldman and Andy Borchers, Lipscomb University, “Where in the Kingdom is Business As Mission?”
Does the kingdom encompass only those who believe in the King or is the kingdom broader, including all of God's creation? The answer to this question relates to how the Bible talks about Christian mission (Matthew 25). There the king says whatever you did for the least of these "brothers and sisters of mine," you did for me. We expect that research on this verse will indicate that "brothers and sisters" in Matthew always refers to Jesus’ followers. We propose a need to think carefully about the biblical vision of God's kingdom and how that relates to business as mission.

 

Mark Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, “Bribery and Influence-Peddling in Biblical and Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts”
The exchange of gifts created and reinforced relationships in the ancient Near East, and elaborate rules existed to ensure a clear understanding of symmetrical or asymmetrical relationships that resulted from such exchanges.  Some gift-exchanges were considered inappropriate, however.  While the vocabulary of gift-giving had no special term for bribery (šohad can be either legitimate or illegitimate).  This paper considers biblical texts that prohibit bribery in the context of gift-giving as a socially validated practice.  It also attempts to position these texts within a larger ancient context.

 

John Harris, Samford University, Emeritus, “City of God Expatriates in the City of Man”
The two cities described by Augustine still characterize modern societies and governments; they are built on the same jealous rivalry that drove Cain and Remus to kill Romulus. Given humanity’s fallen nature, they are destined to decline; so as expatriates of the City of God, we live in but not of the City of Man. Therefore Spirit-led sanctification means we become naturalized, transplanted to the culture of the City of God. Thus spiritual formation means survival through spiritual disciplines, pilgrim life styles, and communities of Jesus followers. 

 

Third Annual Everett Ferguson Lecture in Early Christian Studies: Sidney Griffith, Professor of Syriac Patristics and Christian Arabic, Catholic University of America: “Christians at Home in the ‘World of Islam’: The Legacy of Christian Theology in Arabic”

The earliest records of the Greek and Syriac-speaking, Oriental Christians’ encounters with the Qur’an and with Islam come from the early years of the eighth century AD.  By the middle of the century, many of these Christians, living within the territories of the Arab conquest of their homelands that took place during the middle third of the seventh century AD, had already adopted Arabic as their public language.  They began to translate portions of the Bible and other ecclesiastical texts into Arabic, and Arabic-speaking, Christian scholars began the long tradition of doing theology in Arabic within parameters largely determined by the Qur’an and in the Arabic idiom of the then burgeoning Islamic religious sciences, particularly the apologetically oriented 'Ilm al-kalam, Islamic systematic theology.
After a very quick overview of the main lines of the development of Christian theology in Arabic up to the early years of the 14th century AD, the presentation highlights central topics such as the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the divine Son-ship of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, in the works of one or two representative theologians, emphasizing how they apologetically, and even polemically, mapped their discourse on the topical outlines, vocabulary, and thought patterns found in the works of contemporary Muslim religious thinkers.  In the conclusion, the presentation explores ways in which contemporary Christian thinkers encountering the challenge of Islam might learn from the earlier experience of the Arabic-speaking Christian theologians at home in the World of Islam as in the twenty-first century we learn to do Christian theology within the purview of Islam.
 
 
 
Rebecca Hall, Belmont University, “Meeting Needs in Community Health Care through Service, Mission, and Volunteerism”
The unique experience of being a Nursing student in the Honors program of a Christian university has allowed me to gain an interdisciplinary outlook on the problems that plague patients engaged in the healthcare system.  Attending a Christian university adds an emphasis on compassion and true servanthood needed to become a future nurse and help underserved populations.  Belmont has opened up servant opportunities for me by allowing me to become involved with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Nashville Rescue Mission, which have opened my eyes to both the educational and health needs of the community.
 
 
 
Kelsey Herndon, Oklahoma Christian University, “The Reorientation of Christian Hospitality through the Sermons of John Chrysostom"
The welcoming of strangers is the quintessential Christian practice. Christian hospitality, philoxenia, begins with recognizing our identity as strangers and resists a mindset of scarcity and reciprocity. This paper will show that hospitality as welcoming the least and welcoming all is essential to the theology and practice of the Christian faith, and how this sensibility is powerfully demonstrated in the preaching of John Chrysostom. The Church is called to love and hospitality describes how we are to love.
 
 
 
 
Nathan Howard, University of Tennessee at Martin, “Textual Encounters in Cappadocian Epistolography”
In several epistles the Cappadocian Fathers orchestrated sensuous encounters with elite correspondents through texts that staged performances of physical interaction. In imagery ranging from Nyssen savoring a colleague’s “voice as sweet as songbirds,” to Nazianzen satiating his thirst through “wine squeezed from grapes in the right hand” of a correspondent, these authors conveyed noble friendship (philia) through corporeal terminology. These poetic illustrations represented testaments of an arete (excellence) based on standards of visual beauty (kallos) shared by pepaideumenoi—the educated members of the provincial aristocracy. I argue that by excelling in these literary exempla, these bishops established themselves as arbiters of an aesthetic based on Greek paideia and sacred scripture.
 
 
 
Daniel W. Houck, Southern Methodist University, “Death without Grace: Aquinas’s Developing View of Original Justice and the Inconvenientia of Pure Nature”
This paper argues that reflection on the development of Aquinas's position on the formal cause of original justice sheds light on his view of pure nature. Early in his career, he held that original justice was a “preternatural” gift. By the mid-1260s, though, Aquinas held that Adam and Eve’s original justice was supernatural, requiring sanctifying grace. This implies, counter to standard readings of neo-Thomists and the nouvelle théologie, that Aquinas thought a state of pure nature is within divine power but highly unfitting. Because human beings need grace for eternal life, pure nature leads inescapably to sin and death.
 
 
 
Paul Howard, Oklahoma Christian University, "Bringing Philosophical Issues to the Classroom"
“If the artist does not perfect a new vision in his process of doing, he acts mechanically and repeats some old model fixed like a blueprint in his mind.” - John Dewey
I teach that mathematics is a subject that constructs meanings that are open to revision and transformation, which aligns with ideas expressed by John Dewey, that learning is a reflective activity, and is consistent with current views of mathematics in education reform efforts. I have found that the Moore Method of teaching allows students to develop conceptual meanings as they generate mathematics, rather than being shown algorithms through lectures.

 

Richard Hughes, Lipscomb University, “Reflections Inspired by James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree
In his monumental book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, James Cone explores the parallels between the cross on which Jesus was crucified and the trees from which thousands of blacks were lynched—parallels which those thousands of white Christians typically responsible for the lynchings seldom discerned. Hughes will reflect on the terrible ironies of this horrific story by exploring his own life’s narrative as it relates to race and racism in the United States and American Christianity.
 
 
 
David Johnson, Faulkner University, "In Praise of Price Gougers?"
In times of natural disaster, market prices of goods rise in response to shortages caused by spiking demand and curtailed supply. Economists generally agree that victims are best served by allowing prices to rise so that shortages are resolved by market mechanisms. The popular attitude, however, is that price gouging causes harm to disaster victims and the community, and 34 states have enacted anti-price-gouging (APG) laws. With a focus on the APG laws enacted by the state of Alabama, this paper will address the key economic and ethical issues, to offer a perspective that acknowledges and weighs the relevant ideals and realities.
 
 
 
Chip Kooi, Oklahoma Christian University, “A Christology of Peace: Messiah, Kingdom and Eschatology”
The Isaian phrase “Prince of Peace” has often been applied Christologically by theologians, and the prophetic visions of the peaceful reign of God have frequently been in the background of Christological formulations, yet rarely have had a pervasive effect on them.  Recent Christological work and scholarship on “the kingdom of God” demonstrate that there is an intrinsic connection between “prince of peace” and “crucified” within the revealed nature of God which points toward God’s future telos, a Messianic kingdom (reign) over all creation.  These inherently eschatological concepts (in the Moltmannian sense) orient the present and shape the Christian ethic.
 
 
 
William “Chip” Kooi, Oklahoma Christian University, and Michael Hanegan, Oklahoma Christian University, "On the Wrong Side of History: James Bales, How Not to be Politically Involved as a Pacifist”
In 1943, James Bales published The Christian Conscientious Objector. In his 1967 book condemning Martin Luther King, Jr., Bales indicts King both as a pacifist and a communist. This radical shift coincides with Bales’ increasing interest in combating communism, and is at least partly explained as a theological repositioning of his conception of the role of Christianity to the state, from outsider to insider.  The progressively “insider” Bales accepted the state’s determination of the identity and fate of the “enemy.” This movement coincides with his attack on “worldly philosophies” on the basis of his own (unrecognized) philosophical and cultural presuppositions. By abdicating the role of theological reflection and ethics to the state, Bales became a perpetrator of the very thing he had earlier decried.
 
 
 
Andrew Krinks, Vanderbilt University, “Theological Anthropology and the Construction of Criminality”
This paper considers the category of “criminal” as a construction forged by Christian theological anthropologies through juridical renderings of sin and salvation and conceptions of the self as ultimately separable from other selves, both of which enable essentializing judgments of persons in isolation from sociality, which, in turn, enables the construction of criminal abnormality as raced, classed, and gendered. As a result, the harm the term “criminality” refers to it enacts by reducing non-normative persons to non-persons in order to legitimate their social death. The paper concludes by deploying more relational conceptions of personhood from ancient and contemporary Christian theology.
 
 
 
Fred Liggin, 3e Restoration, Inc., “Hospitality as Witness and Power: the Role of Hospitality in Congregational Engagement and Embrace in a Culture of Displacement”
In North American Christianity, hospitality has not only lost its moral dimensions; it no longer plays an integral role in informing a church’s missiology or ecclesiology. This paper offers a robust theological framework that extends backward to the creation narrative and onward into the Israelite narrative and is both epitomized in and central to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Hospitality understood in this way becomes the primal posture of Christian witness in a post-Christian culture and promotes a missiological impulse powerful enough to reorient a congregation to holistically engage and embrace those suffering social displacement due to homelessness, mental illness, and intellectual disability.
 
 
 
Andrew Little, Abilene Christian University, “Recovering Justice in American Wilderness Laws: Biblical Critiques of the Attempt for Unpeopled Land”
This paper seeks to generate critical questions about American wilderness legislation based on the combination of two perspectives that are not commonly brought together, namely environmental historian William Cronon, and biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann.  I suggest that Cronon’s critique of the traditional wilderness idea—a tradition on which American wilderness law is based—can be complemented and expanded by Brueggemann’s view of wilderness in The Land.  I contend that this more holistic view can aid in the recovery of a sense of justice in the preservation of American wilderness areas that is consistent with the biblical witness.
 
 
 
Mark Love, Rochester College, “Practices as Participation in the Life of God”
Much recent attention has been given to Christian practices, including work by Craig Dykstra, Miroslav Volf, Dorothy Bass, and Roger Owens among others. While these writings have highlighted the place of practices in the economy of Christian faith, they have struggled to make clear the connection between practices and the life of God. In this paper, I hope to make that connection clearer, particularly by focusing on eschatology and pneumatology. Attention will also be given to specific congregational practices that embody the theology of participation offered.
 
 
 
David Mahfood, Southern Methodist University, “Satisfaction for the Oppressed: Atonement, Justice, and Reparations”
Accounts of atonement in which Christ’s death constitutes a satisfying offering to God are often critiqued as implying that victims of oppression should passively undergo injustice. In this paper, I develop an Anselmian satisfaction model of atonement that avoids this implication. On this view, satisfaction is a condition of just restoration of friendship. Taking the question of reparations for slavery as a case study, I examine what this account of atonement implies for human relations, concluding that in a society where an injustice like slavery was committed, friendship cannot be restored (justly) without an act of satisfaction, such as reparations.
 
 
 
Corey J. Markum, Freed-Hardeman University, “‘Obedience to the Powers That Be’: Border States, Allegiance, and Ecclesiastical Nationalism in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South during the Civil War”
This paper analyzes the conflicting responses of Southern Methodist leaders to border-state Unionism. While Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS) leadership tolerated or even encouraged pro-Union loyalty in Kentucky conferences, the Holston Conference in Tennessee and Virginia mandated Confederate allegiance and purged itself of Unionism. A comparison of these states reveals important ways that theology shaped the complex nature of wartime loyalty and submission to government. In particular, hermeneutical understandings of political obedience led to an intriguing paradox for MECS bishops, acting respectively in states where the secular “powers that be” were Federal for the one and Confederate for the other.
 
 
 
Sandy Martin, University of Georgia, “Christianity and Black Racial Identity:Formation and Perseverance of Black Peoplehood.”
Exploring the relationship between Christianity and the formation and perseverance of black racial identity, this presentation argues that the formation of the African American racial identity, the impetus for racial empowerment and justice, and black Christianity have been intertwined in the American experience to such an extent that to disconnect Christianity from any movements for black American liberation risks undermining the quest for freedom.  Examining the following eras serves as a prolegomena to a fuller development of this thesis:  the Revolutionary and Early National Periods (1770-1825), the Civil War and Post-War Eras (1860-1900); and the modern Civil Rights Movement Period (1950-1970).
 
 
 
Dennis Marquardt, Abilene Christian University, “Avoiding Failure or Proving Competence: Which Leader Orientation Motivates More Follower Unethical Behavior?”
Given the costly consequences of unethical behavior in organizations, identifying the underlying factors associated with such misconduct is crucial. In this paper, I propose that seemingly morally benign patterns of goal-oriented behavior by managers provide signals and cues that relate to follower displays of unethical behavior. Using a sample of 230 supervisor/subordinate dyads, the findings indicate that leader goal orientation is significantly related to follower unethical behavior, and that this relationship is partially mediated by follower ethical leadership perceptions. The implications of these results for theory and practice are discussed.
 
 
 
Daniel McGraw, Abilene Christian University, "Formulating an Intentional Curriculum for Spiritual Leadership Development at the West University Church of Christ."
Recent conversations among congregational leaders at West University Church of Christ revealed the need for a deeper connection to God and a better understanding of spiritual leadership. This dissertation contends that spiritual leadership is about fulfilling Paul's calling to develop the phronesis of Christ through study, reflection, and intentional spiritual practices, and then helping others do the same in their own lives. Working together, a small, diverse group of members created a curriculum to help develop a Christian phronesis among the current leaders of the congregation. This dissertation explores the theological foundations of the curriculum, the methods of its construction, and its practical possibilities for future leadership development.
 
 
 
Greg McKinzie, Fuller Theological Seminary,? “Doing Justice to the Text: A Missional Hermeneutic of Embodied Participation”
The self-diagnosis of “identity crisis” is longstanding among theologians in Churches of Christ, yet the explanations of this condition’s causes and solutions are varied and seemingly unable to effect a resolution. This paper considers the historical symptoms of identity crisis, a more specific diagnosis with the aid of Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical work, and a hermeneutical prescription suitable for these indications. In order to move beyond identity crisis, Churches of Christ must embrace a missional hermeneutic of the biblical text that entails the embodiment of God’s justice as an interpretive agenda. We must, in short, do justice to the text.??
 
 
 
Catherine Meeks, Atlanta Diocese, Episcopal Church, “Reclaiming Hope through Remembering”
The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta will take a bold step forward to begin a three year cycle of pilgrimages to Georgia sites of martyrdom, most commonly known as lynching sites. We believe that these sites need to be viewed as places where martyrs were made. And all of us—whites and people of color--who make up the generations of their descendants need to acknowledge these martyrs and mark the places where their lives were sacrificed.
 
 
 
Khanjan Mehta, Pennsylvania State University, “Engaging Students in Sustainable and Scalable Answers to Global Socio-Economic Challenges”
Engaging students in the design of products, services and educational programs that address global socio-economic challenges has become a part of the fabric of universities across the United States. The nature and intensity of engagement spans the spectrum from awareness-raising efforts to advocacy programs to entrepreneurial endeavors. The rigorous integration of an entrepreneurial approach into engineering design endeavors has the potential to transform a program that focuses on low-impact service activities to high-impact social enterprises. This presentation and panel examine practical and actionable insights on how to build educational programs and entrepreneurial ecosystems that spin-off sustainable and scalable businesses in developing countries.
 
 
 
Jerry Mitchell, “Stories of Justice and Redemption in the New South”
A look at how cold cases from the civil rights movement, starting with the 1963 assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, came to be punished decades later. Through these stories, listeners learn about the history of the modern civil rights movement and the Southern resistance to that movement. They hear about the heroic efforts of prosecutors, family members and others to bring these prosecutions back to court, often against overwhelming odds. To date, there have been 24 convictions in these cold cases and, even more amazingly, racial reconciliation.
 
 

Steven T. Moore, Abilene Christian University, “The Death of Unarmed Black Men: The Prophetic Voice of Toni Morrison in The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison’s first groundbreaking and electrifying novel, was published in 1970. Unfortunately, society was not ready for its controversial content. Consequently, her book was banned immediately and was left to linger quietly on bookshelves across the nation until it was rediscovered. The naysayers did not realize the importance of her message much less know that this would be a prophetic work of art. Morrison knew that we would continue to struggle with the dreadful issue of race if the subject remained unaddressed. Sadly, in 2016, in this “civilized” country, we are still witnessing the ever-growing number of black corpses. The Bluest Eye shows us how different our world could be like if only those with blue eyes would listen.

 

Nathan Myers, Harding School of Theology, “Pentateuchal Law and the Question of Animal Ethics”
Does the Old Testament offer any theological basis for the ethical treatment of animals? This paper will provide an exegesis of three pertinent Torah texts - Exodus 23:11-12, Leviticus 22:27-28, and Deuteronomy 25:4 – which demonstrate that compassion and humanitarian concern for animals permeated every sphere of Israelite life including cultic worship, Sabbath rest, and in everyday activities like eating and working. This paper calls for a reconsideration of the value and voice that Pentateuchal law relates to modern ethical discussions of animals, and heightens consciousness and renews appreciation and concern for animals. 

 

Justin A. Myrick, Sr., Kerry Patterson, A. Fort Gwinn, Chris Gwaltney, and Caleb Meeks, Lipscomb University, Carter Bearden, Ryan Gadsey, and Daniel Jordan, HDR-ICA, Ethan Johnson, Luke Burris, and Kris Hatchell, Barge Waggoner, Summer and Cannon, “The Anatomy of a Bridge: An Engineering Service Project in the Developing World”
We describe planning and construction of a pedestrian bridge in Honduras as an illustration of service projects in the developing world using teams of engineering alumni, faculty, undergraduate students and local community workers. The description includes project organization, timeframe, financing methods, and resources required. It is emphasized that a strong local non-governmental organization (NGO) is critical for success. After the design by 6 professional engineers (5 alumni), implementation consisted of three trips during semester break–a survey trip, a trip to construct concrete footers, and a trip to assemble the bridge. Manpower included 26 North Americans plus local labor.

 

 

Ted Parks, Lipscomb University, "Screening, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution"
A 2015 feature documentary constructing its narrative from contemporary interviews and revealing archival sources, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the latest installment in director Stanley Nelson's trilogy of non-fiction films about the Civil Rights Movement that includes Freedom Riders (2010) and Freedom Summer (2014). The Christian Scholars' Conference screens The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution as preface to the subsequent generative session dedicated to discussing the film and its significance for the continuing call for racial justice.

 

Kerry Patterson and Caleb Meeks, Lipscomb University, “Story-Based Learning in Humanitarian Engineering”
The Peugeot Center for engineering service in developing communities has coupled principles of storytelling, spiritual formation, and guided discovery to create a plan for holistically engaging our engineering-project mission teams. Role playing, storytelling principles, and inquiry-based learning pedagogy have allowed us to craft experiences that guide team members through implicit discovery of useful information and practices that inform both their engineering work and spiritual walk. In this paper, we briefly present our underlying paradigms, demonstrate how they have shaped our system, and reflect on feedback from our first year of implementation.

 

Jeff Paxton, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, "Examination of Ethics in Sports Medicine through the Lens of the Movie Concussion."
Although scandals in sports have been present as long as there have been athletic contests, the discussion of ethical treatment of medical conditions in sports is a much more recent development. The recent movie Concussion explores the work of Dr. Bennet Omalu as he makes the connection between frequent concussions and the development of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This paper will explore the movie portrayal of various ethical theories as they relate to the medical care of athletes.

 

Andrew R. Polk, Middle Tennessee State University, “‘I’m Not a Non-Pacifist’: The Political Non-Theology of Preacher Will D. Campbell”
Will D. Campbell is best known as a social activist, renegade preacher, and the author of numerous books, including the much heralded Brother to a Dragonfly. A graduate of Yale Divinity School and ordained pastor of the Southern Baptist Church, Campbell often found and intentionally placed himself at odds with Christian institutions, choosing to eschew liberal social schemes and conservative oversimplifications to find and clarify the teachings of Jesus in all matters of life. The current presentation will explore the ways that Campbell's understanding of Christian pacifism both confounds scholarly designations and challenges Christians to self-reflection and self-abnegation.?

 

Ronna Privett, Lubbock Christian University, “The [In]Justice of Sethe’s Punishment in Toni Morrison’s Beloved
The real-life story of slave Margaret Garner is a true horror tale: after her escape with her children, she slit the throat of her 3-year old in an attempt to save her from slavery. She was defended by Lucy Stone, a leader of the woman’s movement, who called Garner “heroic,” but as a slave woman, Garner could not speak in her own defense. The story fascinated more than one author, most particularly Toni Morrison, who in her novel Beloved presents Sethe, a fictional recreation of Garner. Morrison complicates the morality of the issue by illustrating a community who has difficulty assimilating Sethe. In Beloved, Morrison creates a ghostly presence who haunts Sethe, punishing her both psychologically and materially, leaving the reader to confront the ugly spectre of slavery and the physical and psychological scars the former slave bore.

 

Zackery Reed, Oregon State University, "Encouraging Student Ownership of Mathematics"
While degrees in the sciences require an increasing amount of mathematics coursework, students persistetently fail and withdraw from early mathematics courses. Many students leave STEM fields because of these early experiences, particularly the Calculus sequence (Rasmussen & Ellis 2013). Students’ perception of their own mathematical ability can determine their completion of such courses. Many students believe that some people simply “cannot do mathematics” and project this quality onto themselves. I have found that in-class exploration through generalization-promoting activities helps students to develop their own mathematics. Promoting ownership, even of trivial mathematical ideas, shows inconfident students that they can indeed “do mathematics”.

 

Brad Reid, Lipscomb University, “Religious Legal Issues Accompany a Culturally Diverse Workforce”
The U.S. workforce is increasingly culturally diverse. One unfolding issue is how to lawfully address religious diversity and religious expression at work. The employer also has religious liberty rights. What constitutes a “reasonable accommodation?” What employees are not protected from religious discrimination in employment? What is the “ministerial exception”? May employers lawfully assert religious freedom when taking workplace actions? A further complication is that Courts hesitate to precisely define “religion” or pass judgment on matters of religious doctrine. This is as ancient as the Biblical account in Acts 18 of a Roman Proconsul declining to hear such a case.

 

Gabriel Said Reynolds, University of Notre Dame, “The God of Retribution: Reflections on the Qur’an’s Theology” 
The theme of God’s mercy runs throughout the Qur?an, every chapter of which (except one), begins with the invocation “In the name of God the merciful, the benevolent.” The Qur?an, however, also emphasizes God’s justice and even His vengeance. The vengeance of the Qur?an’s God is evident in the stories it tells of the retribution which God has carried out on unbelieving peoples. The theme of divine vengeance is also found in the Bible (perhaps most famously in Rom 12:19; quoting Deu 32:35), and yet the particular accent which the Qur?an places on divine vengeance is evident from the manner in which it retells Biblical accounts (especially those of Noah and Lot). In my presentation I will make the case (following in part David Marshall’s God, Muhammad, and the Unbelievers) that the mercy of God in the Qur?an must be understood in light of His vengeance. I will also ask what implications this has for the theological doctrine (taught for example by the Catholic Church) that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

 

Kerianne Roper, Oklahoma Christian University, “Moving Toward Higher Levels of Bloom’s Cognitive Process Dimensions: A Project-Based Classroom Approach” 
Business school leaders and faculty often focus on critical thinking as an area of assessment for student success. Students should not only learn facts and concepts, they are also to develop skills in taking in new information, analyzing it, and offering solutions that provide value to employers. Many institutions use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide for setting objectives for learning and assessment in the classroom. This presentation assists higher education faculty by providing two projects that can be used in a class where higher levels of Cognitive Process Dimensions are desired.

 

Julia Sherwood, Belmont University, “Meeting Needs in Community Health Care through Service, Mission, and Volunteerism”
Belmont University has enhanced my passion for the development of Christ-centered care and compassion in community healthcare. The faith-based education that I have gained has exposed me to the vital importance of providing holistic care that focuses on the individual human as more than just a biological entity who requires medical input.  Belmont’s School of Nursing upholds the value of caring for others as biological, psychological, social, and spiritual beings. I have had the privilege of working at a local rescue mission, nursing home, and Medical Center developing my concept of Christ-centered compassion.

 

Angela D. Sims, Saint Paul School of Theology, “Gospel Bearers: Testifying in a Neo-Lynching Age”
To give voice to dimensions of race as a polarizing religious factor necessitates a reexamination of a universal concept of the imago Dei. Despite verbal declarations of love of God and all humanity, socio-historical evidence suggests that encounters by African Americans with proponents of lynching provide accurate depictions of individuals’ relationship with the Divine. This realization of an embodied theology that situates expressions of God in diverse sites of worship contradicts notions of a palatable testimony. When it comes to lynching and a culture of lynching, I posit that Christians must ask ourselves, whose account will we believe?

 

Kent Smith, Abilene Christian University, “Ecosystems of Grace: An Old Vision for the New Church”
The epidemic distractions presented by American culture invite the question: “What way of life centered in God has the capacity to capture and hold the attention of people in our time?” With focused attention on such a rare commodity, much discussion of mission, discipleship, and love as a lifestyle remains hypothetical. We seem too busy and distracted to be available for the attention and discernment that love requires. This paper reviews the nature of our contemporary distractions, and then explores an ancient understanding of church as a way to reclaim our attention and re-engage the mission of God, and offers specific research-based guidance for joining God in mission in our context.

 

Lauren Smelser-White, Vanderbilt University, “Asceticism or Enslavement?: Christological Re-Constructions of the Person in the Bodily Process of Salvation”
Christian theologians have long grappled with the human trichotomy of mind/soul/body as ostensibly implied by the Christ event, traditionally envisioning salvation as involving all three aspects’ obedient submission to God. This paper considers how modern theologians Karl Barth, James Cone, and Sarah Coakley enter into conversation with that tradition. Chiefly reflecting upon the role they assign to the material body in the soteriological interaction between divinity and humanity, the paper evaluates their accounts as a means for considering the difference between asceticism and enslavement, and for endorsing a non-dualist understanding of the person bodily submitting to ongoing, christoform reconstruction.

 

Jerry Sumney, Lexington Theological Seminary, “Paul and Other Christianities”
Most interpreters recognize that the early church was diverse. Some argue that Paul’s letters reflect a kind of church that was radically different from some others who adhered to the teaching of Jesus without making the theological claims about him that Paul makes. This paper will explore the ways that Paul’s use of pre-existing material (confessions, liturgies, etc.) can help us understand his relationship to other branches of the church. It will identify his connections to and even dependence on earlier church teaching. It will further examine what these connections suggest about some other kinds of followers of the teaching of Jesus that are sometimes proposed.

 

Devin Swindle, Harding School of Theology, “The Kerusso Experience: A Resource for Calling Teenaged Students to the Ministry of Preaching.” For more than a decade, studies of those who are preparing for ministry in the Churches of Christ have demonstrated a disturbing decline in the number of students interested in preparing to preach. The Kerusso Experience was conceived in response to this trend. The Kerusso Experience: A Resource for Calling Teenaged Students to the Ministry of Preaching, describes the creation and implementation of a preacher training camp designed to inspire, recruit, and prepare students for preaching ministry. The dissertation details the developmental, theological, homiletical, and educational considerations necessary to produce a successful program.

 

Kholo Theledi, Abilene Christian University, “Attitudes toward women's roles in the Churches of Christ: A comparison of South Africa and the United States.”
This paper explores predictors of gender-role attitudes in conservative Christian contexts. Specifically, the paper measures a variety of demographic variables and analyzes the relationship between demographic variables and attitudes toward gender-roles in people from South Africa and people from North America who attend or are members of the Churches of Christ. Additionally, the paper examines differences in gender-role attitudes between United States and South African study participants. This study extends prior research by examining gender-role attitudes of Churches of Christ members and attendees outside the United States.

 

Joseph Tipton, Lipscomb University, “Faith and Learning Integration in a Mechanical Engineering Thermodynamics Course”
In the midst of a very practical (maybe even earthly!) engineering curriculum, an introduction to thermodynamics course supplies surprisingly fertile ground for social justice and cosmology topics. The Biblical concept of “honest scales” connects with modern weight and measurement systems. In addition, the Second Law of Thermodynamics connects with climate change, competition for natural resources, and even greater questions in cosmology. The presentation will introduce these topics, connect them to the course using models of faith and learning, and explore solutions to competition with course content.

 

Emily Tomsovic, Belmont University, “Meeting Needs in Community Health Care through Service, Mission, and Volunteerism”
God began preparing my heart for Belmont’s Nursing Program long before I came to Nashville.  As I worked at a nursing home, I began to realize that my love for God could change the attitude of others.  I could see God’s light in the people I served (1 John 1:5).  I believe that Christian Universities teach students preparing for careers as health professionals how to better show God’s love to their patients. That love, when brought into health care practice, is a powerful force for holistic care, patient healing, healthy communities, and protecting the sanctity of life.

 

Rob Touchstone, Lipscomb University “The Z’ekahnomics of Business As Mission”
Just outside the garden, after the tragic fall of mankind, a question crept out of the mouth of Cain that reflected a tragically fallen nature.  God’s response might be described as “z’ekahnomics,” a term that will be introduced here to the emerging conversation of Business As Mission to describe a theology of economics. Z’ekahnomics is a God-designed trajectory that begins with acknowledging brokenness and journeys toward sustainably answering the cries of the oppressed, alienated, marginalized, and least of these. This is done missionally and entrepreneurially by co-creating with God in His economic design for all of creation.

 

Rusty Towell, Abilene Christian University, “Advancing Molten Salt Reactor Technology to meet the Needs of the World “
Globally there is a desperate need for affordable, safe, and clean water and energy on demand. More than anything else, this would raise the living conditions of those in poverty around the world. An advanced reactor that utilizes molten salts is capable of meeting these needs. Additionally, it holds the key to detecting and curing many forms of cancer. Given the enormous humanitarian benefits of this revolutionary technology, a new research effort has been initiated in the Engineering and Physics department at Abilene Christian University. This presentation will explain the motivation and initial steps for this exciting new research initiative.

 

Sandra J. Valdes-Lopez, Boston University, “Excavating Gendered Forgiveness: Work toward a Just Theology for Survivors of Violence”
Within many violence response circles, forgiveness remains a controversial subject, associated in these contexts with the historical practices of victim blaming, shaming, and perpetuation of abuse cycles. This paper engages the criticisms outlined by advocacy communities, exposing what is ethically and pastorally at stake for victims’ advocates and violence survivors, and illuminating how contemporary theological understandings of forgiveness, have largely unsatisfactorily addressed their concerns. This paper concludes with a forgiveness theology in dialogue with these criticisms, the biblical forgiveness texts, and trauma studies literature. Implications for forgiveness pastoral care ministry with trauma survivors are also contemplated.

 

Bobby Valentine, Palo Verde Church of Christ, Tucson, Arizona, “Earth, Animals, People, Do not Fear: The Hope of Israel in Joel’s Liturgy”
The prophet Joel offers us the most comprehensive picture of how sin, lamentation, repentance and renewal are intertwined. In the opening two chapters, the prophet calls the people together to lament (1:5, 8; 2:12-14), fast (1:13-14; 2:15-16), and wait for the day of the Lord (1:15; 2:17). Hope, then, is located in God’s gracious response to such lament (2:18. 23, 28-29; 3:1, 18). The message of Joel is lament, repent, and hope of healing for God’s earth, God’s creatures, and God’s people. 

 

Gailyn Van Rheenen, Mission Alive, “Is Missional a Fad?”
Using Anthony Wallace’s classic description of change through revitalization movements, Van Rheenen traces the history of the Churches of Christ over the last 40 years describing (1) the steady state, (2) the period of increased individual stress, (3) the period of cultural distortion, and (4) possible revitalization, which leads either to gradual disintegration or (5) a new steady state. He gives personal testimony as well as stories and perspectives from prophetic Restoration leaders.  He concludes with three contemporary paradigms for Restoration revitalization.

 

Jeanine Varner, Abilene Christian University, “The Language of Justice in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart”
Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart is a fascinating, compelling novel for a variety of reasons, particularly its description of Igbo culture.  The novel raises important questions about that culture—its politics, economics, religion, and ultimately its survival. The novel also raises important questions about justice in Igbo society.  Is the society just?  Is it not?  What is the basis of its justice? For whom is the society just?  For whom is it not?  An analysis of the language relating to justice in the novel reveals a deep distrust of language, especially the language used to present and promote Christianity.

 

Tim Wallace, Lipscomb University, “Leveraging Data Science for Benevolence in the New Millennium”
Methods and concepts in data science are poised to contribute to faith-based benevolence goals in the new millennium. In particular, the burgeoning data growth in all realms of statistical learning and inference has significant implications, especially where the information may be leveraged to control or predict complex systems for the benefit of citizens and their respective governments. As an example case study, preliminary ideas in both teaching and practice are discussed for leveraging a competent business and missionary model that uses a portion of the profits to improve water resources in developing countries.

 

James Walters, Rochester College, “Whose Scripture? Aphrahat’s Hermeneutic of Reversal in the Hebrew Bible” 
The fourth-century, Syriac corpus known as the Demonstrations—attributed to Aphrahat—is well known for its anti-Jewish polemics. In this paper, I argue that Aphrahat’s use of biblical texts—particularly from the Hebrew Bible—is guided by a “hermeneutic of reversal.” Through this hermeneutic, Aphrahat re-interprets Scripture and re-signifies key Jewish beliefs and practices. Likewise, Aphrahat’s creative exegesis shifts the meaning of various passages in the Hebrew Bible, which strips these texts of their Jewish-ness. In so doing, Aphrahat articulates a vision of Christian identity that is dependent upon Jewish tradition, but utterly devoid of Jewish character.

 

Travis Weber, Texas Christian University, “A Pastoral Theological Engagement of Imago Dei, Identity, and Agency: The Dis/Empowerment of Victim-Survivor Identities”
Using an interdisciplinary pastoral theological approach, this paper engages the impossible necessity of victim-survivor identities in the aftermath of sexualized violence. Victim-survivor identities are important for persons to assert the truth, to gain access to resources and community, to externalize the blame, and to begin the processes of re/claiming their imago Dei and agency. Not only are victim-survivor identities profoundly inadequate, limiting, and potentially disempowering, they can depoliticize and individualize experiences of sexualized violence. The implications for theological anthropology, for identity re/construction, and for the practice of the church are significant and wide-ranging.

 

Steve Weathers, Abilene Christian University: "J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace: Jurisprudential Gulfs and Continental Drift"
Set in post-apartheid South Africa, Coetzee’s Disgrace traces the ethical trajectory of recently unemployed David Lurie, who seeks temporary shelter with his daughter, Lucy, on a rural farm. The novel’s climactic event is the invasion of Lucy’s home by three assailants, who rape her, torture her father, and make off with their valuables. Outraged, Lurie insists authorities issue warrants for the culprits’ arrest. Lucy is unwilling, however, to press charges. A black neighbor then suggests that other approaches to justice—rooted in tribal culture and intent on the offenders’ rehabilitation—might prove more efficacious than the canons of Western jurisprudence.

 

Mark Weedman, Johnson University, “Revisiting Ephrem’s Trinitarian Theology”
Though Ephrem the Syrian is often characterized as a staunch defender of Nicene orthodoxy, the task of locating his thought within the context of Pro-Nicene discourse remains difficult.  Ephrem seems to be aware of the polemical challenges posed by the Homoians and it is likely that Ephrem had at least some familiarity with “Greek” theological concepts.  This paper examines Ephrem’s development of a central Pro-Nicene theological category that is sometimes overlooked in the standard histories. I will argue that Ephrem’s use of the concept of “true names” displays similar concerns to early Pro-Nicenes such as Basil of Ancyra and Hilary of Poitiers. For Ephrem, as for these other theologians, the names Father and Son distinguish one from the other, while only in a limited way telling us anything about the divine nature. Along with Hilary and Basil, Ephrem’s thought follows a transition made by Pro-Nicenes in the late 350s in the use of divine names. Whereas early anti-Arian theology had emphasized the role of the names in revealing the divine nature, beginning with Hilary and Basil we find an emphasis on names’ relational quality, by which we can distinguish the Father and the Son without necessarily gaining access to the divine nature. This development of the names’ relational quality became characteristic of Pro-Nicene thought, and in Ephrem we find a similar transition from an emphasis on the names’ revealing nature to a properly Pro-Nicene emphasis on their relational quality.

 

Katie Wick, McMurry University, “Fostering, Loss Aversion, and Kingdom Gains”
A crisis exists in America’s foster care system that is leading to a critique of the church’s inaction and multiple ineffectual political solutions. At the heart of Americans’ hesitation to foster are questions of wealth, economy, and perceived loss. I postulate that increasing payments can only slightly increase the available pool of foster parents because barriers to fostering are mostly non-monetary. Using an analysis of risk and expected value, I will show that individuals place a greater weight on the potential emotional and physical losses, which prevents Christians from viewing fostering as a Kingdom endeavor where returns outweigh costs.

 

Mark Wiebe, Lubbock Christian University, “Stained With Blood So Divine: Reflections on the Incarnation, Atonement, and the Communicatio Idiomatum”
This study consists in an analysis of the role the communicatio idiomatum plays in the writings of Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, and develops some of their insights in conversation with contemporary thinkers like Sarah Coakley and Marilyn McCord Adams. This conceptual tool enables a coherent depiction of the hypostatic union while avoiding descriptions of the incarnation that were ultimately deemed theologically lifeless. I will defend this framework for Christological reflection with special emphasis upon the importance of the communication of attributes in maintaining a healthy notion of the unity of Christ. Additionally, I argue that this view has serious strengths that are absent in certain strands of contemporary theology.

 

Daniel K. Williams, University of West Georgia, “Theological Divisions in the Pro-Life Movement: The Differences between Catholic and Evangelical Approaches to Abortion in the 1970s”
By the end of the 1970s, many conservative evangelical Protestants were joining Catholics in opposing abortion, but although the two groups shared a commitment to the pro-life cause, they framed their opposition to abortion in very different terms.  This paper explores those differences and their historical development from the first evangelical articles against abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s to the moment when the pro-life cause became a central evangelical political priority at the end of the 1970s.  The paper argues that while pro-life Catholics of the 1970s tended to frame the campaign against abortion as a human rights issue linked to other social justice campaigns against war and capital punishment, conservative evangelicals framed their fight against abortion as part of a larger opposition to "secular humanism" and the sexual revolution.  By reframing the context of pro-life arguments, evangelicals helped to transform the pro-life movement into a politically conservative cause, a development that would have profound effects on the "Reagan revolution" and the future course of American politics.  This paper not only explains the trajectory of this development, but also examines the theological and cultural reasons why evangelicals and Catholics thought about abortion in very different ways, even while both claiming the label "pro-life."

 

Monica Williams, Lubbock Christian University, "Role of Sport in Sculpting Identity: an Interactionist Theory and Personal Narrative."
“What am I anymore, if I’m not this?” Ronda Rousey, former UFC Bantamweight Champion, pondered following her devastating loss to Holly Holm in a UFC title bout. Many athletes contemplate Rousey’s question, and typically in response to events which challenge their “athlete” identity that has been catered to from the onset of their careers. Individuals in sport widely embrace the “athlete” identity, effectively “foreclosing other aspects of their identity, e.g. student, musician, and artist.” This paper will explore the role of sport in sculpting identity from an Interactionist premise, a personal narrative, and Acts 3:6.

 

Wendell Willis, Abilene Christian University, “Paul versus the Roman Empire.”
This is a very popular topic currently, and widely influential.  In the last few decades several book have been published with the thesis of Paul as an overt critique of Rome. This paper will explore the evidence for claims that the worship of the Roman emperor was a significant reality in the mid first century, and the evidence that Paul saw his theology as a challenge to Imperial claims. 

 

John D. Wilsey, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, “‘Come Roam with Me Columbia’s Forests Through’: American Exceptionalism and the Environment”
When the Europeans arrived in America to settle and colonize, they were faced with what they saw as an unbroken, untouched wilderness, a blank slate on which to build a new civilization. The stark newness of the land, from the European perspective, presented a staggering psychological and categorical challenge to the European mind. Was the land to be, as Jack Greene described, “acted upon,” as though the newcomers were the chosen people of God placed in a land flowing with limitless milk and honey? Or was it to be husbanded for the benefit of, not only the white colonists, but also for the indigenous people who were there first? Religious articulations of American exceptionalism were central to how Americans answered the question of the relationship of the people to the land.This paper will consider the history of the American environment using exceptionalism as a broad paradigm to consider the use, abuse, and conservation of the land.

 

Philip Wingeier-Rayo, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, “Now that Hispanic/Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the U.S., what can be learned from African Americans?”
On June 18, 2003 the front page of the USA Today declared “Hispanics pass African Americans as largest Ethnic Minority.” However, numerical growth has not necessarily transferred to political power.  The current “Black Lives Matter” movement has applied a great deal of public pressure to law enforcement to curb racial profiling and excessive force against African Americans.  While many Hispanics are also victims of racial profiling and abuse, the Hispanic community does not have the same history of fighting these abuses.  Rather than letting the powers that be ‘divide and conquer,’ the Hispanic community can learn a great deal from the spiritual and organizational strength gained from years of struggle.

 

 
 

Click here to see the 2015 CSC Abstracts Archive.