Lipscomb University

Christian Scholars' Conference

Session Abstracts

Apprenticeship In Art – Two Writers 

David Fleer, Lipscomb University, Convener

  • John R. Erickson, Mentor, Author of the Hank the Cowdog series
  • Nathan (S.J.) Dahlstrom, Mentee, Author of the Wilder Good series

The career of beloved Texas writer John R. Erickson began in the turbulent 60s at the University of Texas and then onto Harvard Divinity School.  Despite the early academic pedigree, he left academia to become a working cowboy back home and the internationally-known children’s author of the Hank the Cowdog series, selling over 9 million copies and having been courted by Disney.  In his later years he shared his wisdom and experience of the craft of writing with Nathan (S.J.) Dahlstrom who has gone on to publish his own award-winning children’s series.  The slow but deliberate apprenticeship in craft and art is a process too often left outside the academy but which began for Erickson and Dahlstrom in the pasture, horseback, with a shared love of animals and physical labor.  They will discuss their experience and how the process can be mutually beneficial and why it must continue.


Media, Art, and Liturgy: Exploring the Influence of Visual Art and Media Technology on Worship in Stone-Campbell Churches

Trey Shirley, Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • Carisse Berryhill, Abilene Christian University, “Here is Water: Allegory and Acceptance of Baptistery Murals in Mid-20th Century Churches of Christ”
  • Shawn Hughes, Lubbock Christian University, “Worship Media in a Changing Environment: An Examination of the Use of Media in the Church of Christ”
  • Matt Pinson, Highland Church of Christ, Abilene, TX, “Envisioning a Pathway to Discipleship at Highland Church of Christ”
  • Trey Shirley, Abilene Christian University, “Projecting a Vision: A Case Study on the Relationship Between Environmental Projection and Liturgy at Oak Hills Church”

Use of art and media in worship is on the rise in churches with a heritage in the Stone-Campbell Movement; consequently, worship looks differently today than it did even two decades ago.  This panel will explore some of the ways visual art and new media technologies have historically influenced and continue to transform the ways churches are approaching worship.  


Spiritual Formation in Higher Education

John Boyles, Suzie Macaluso, Amanda Pittman, Abilene Christian University, Conveners

  • John Boyles, Suzie Macaluso, Amanda Pittman, Abilene Christian University, “Results from a Two Year Study of the Spiritual Lives of First Year College Students”
  • Eric Wilson, Pepperdine University, “Research Results on Spiritual Formation and Social Action Among Pepperdine Students”
  • Gary Selby, Emmanuel Seminary at Milligan College
  • Heather Gorman, Johnson University, Respondent

Institutions of Christian higher education, including schools affiliated with Churches of Christ, pledge to support the spiritual growth of students. This session presents different institutional perspectives on the means and measures of that work, with particular attention to the intersection of the efforts of higher education institutions with students’ ecclesial commitments, personal motivations, and social locations.

American Religions Section

Major Book Review: Richard T. Hughes, The Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories that Give Us Meaning, 2d ed. (University of Illinois Press, 2018)

Todd M. Brenneman, Faulkner University, Convener

  • Raymond C. Carr, Pepperdine University, Reviewer
  • Doug Foster, Abilene Christian University, Reviewer
  • Angela Sims, St. Paul School of Theology, Reviewer
  • Richard T. Hughes, Lipscomb University, Respondent

Recent events in American culture have evidenced the enduring power of myth of white supremacy. In his new book, Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories that Give Us Meaning, Richard T. Hughes explores how this myth shapes the other myths that define the United States. Not only does the myth of white supremacy bolster the others; they in turn help obscure the continuing power of whiteness in the country. This session will explore the argument of the book from theological and historical perspectives, from white and black scholars, and from the author as well.

Click here to see the 2018 CSC Abstracts Archive.