Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Summer Fellowship at the AAS

I am in the midst of grading multiple research papers, supervising senior theses, and preparing for next week's exams, but I wanted to post the news that I was recently awarded a William Reese Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. I will be spending the month of June at the AAS to work on my current book project on evangelicalism and transatlantic print culture.

Monday, 7 April 2014

One More Speaker for the LeRoy Martin Lecture Series

Thanks for your feedback on which speaker to invite next year for UTC's LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecturer Series.

I am delighted to announce that Kate Bowler of Duke Divinity School is scheduled to speak on the prosperity gospel in America on Tuesday, October 28. Her talk will focus on the subject of her recent book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, published last year by Oxford University Press.

It should be a great evening of discussion on this interesting subject, so please mark your calendar and join us at the Camp House for a free drink and hopefully stimulating conversion at 7:30pm.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

2014-2015 LeRoy Martin Lecturers

It is looking as if 2014-2015 will be the final academic year for the LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecturer Series at UTC. Most likely the money for our lecture series will be utilized for other purposes within the philosophy and religion department. That being said, I am delighted to announce that I have lined up two eminent religious scholars for 2014-2015.

The first speaker is Linford Fisher, who teaches in the department of history at Brown University. Fisher will be speaking on Tuesday, September 23, 2014. The second speaker is Jeremy Begbie, who teaches at Duke Divinity School for part of the year. Begbie is scheduled to give a lecture at UTC on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Once I have the exact titles of their lectures, I will post them on the blog.

I am planning on scheduling at least one more religious scholar to speak at UTC during the 2014-2015. If you could book only one more lecturer, who would you choose? Email me at my contact information with your suggestion.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The History of Christianity in One Hour

If you had only one hour to cover the history of Christianity, from the Reformation to the present, what would you talk about? This was my dilemma today as I guest lectured in a course on the "Introduction to Religion."

I spent most of my allotted time speaking on the Reformation, including common Protestant beliefs, Martin Luther, John Calvin,  the Anabaptists, the formation of the Church of England, and the Catholic Reformation. I then moved on quickly to talk about Puritanism, Pietism, and evangelicalism. I argued that American Christianity shows traces of all these influences, not only in our religious beliefs, but in our attitude towards culture.

It has been some time since I taught a basic, general education, undergraduate course, and so I was reminded of the differences between  these types of courses and upper-level electives. In "Introduction to Religion," I had to work for the audience's attention. Most of the students appeared disinterested at first, and perhaps bored at the idea of a guest lecturer speaking on Christianity. I decided to take this as a challenge, and so worked harder than I normally do to emphasize specific points, integrate funny anecdotes, and use more hand gestures. I'm not sure how successful I was, but I was pleased that some of the people who put their heads on their desk at the start of class had by the midpoint showed signs of life.

I contrast this lecture with my earlier course on "Modern Christian Thought," an upper-level elective that I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:25am to 10:40am. The benefit of an elective course, from my perspective, is that students choose to take it, rather than enroll to meet a requirement to graduate. Today, I spoke on the life and thought of Paul Tillich. I have blogged before on the question of whether Tillich's thought is too difficult to teach in an undergraduate course. Although it was challenging for them (and me) to grasp some of Tillich's philosophical concepts, students were interested in trying to understand him and how he integrated philosophy and theology with culture. I look forward to Thursday's discussion on Reinhold Niebuhr, and next week on Karl Rahner and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Faculty Research Award

It has been a hectic few weeks for me. As the semester winds down, there are lots of papers to grade, committee meetings, and other obligations. I look forward to the upcoming summer break, and the chance to catch up on my blogging.

I do have some exciting news worth mentioning. Today, I was awarded UTC's "Outstanding Research" award for a faculty member within the College of Arts and Sciences. It is apparently a very competitive award, and so it was an honor to be recognized by the university in front of my colleagues. Hopefully, this award helps my case when I go up for tenure in a few years.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Can We Trust the Bible?

I've been incredibly busy the last few weeks, which is why my posts have been sparse.

If you are in the Chattanooga area tomorrow (Wednesday, March 26) at 7:30pm, please consider attending a lecture that I am giving entitled, "Can We Trust the Bible?" at the "House."

One of the organizers of the House ministries in Chattanooga asked me to talk on the formation of the biblical canon and the reliability of the scriptures. I will not be giving a sermon. Rather, I intend to take a historical approach in describing how the Bible was put together (the New Testament in particular), what books were included and why, and what we can learn from the variety of genres and narrative perspectives from the New Testament writers. It should be fun, and I hope that it will lead to a fruitful time of q & a.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

C.S. Lewis Lecture at UTC

If you are in the Chattanooga area today, don't miss the thirty-second annual C.S. Lewis Lecture at UTC. The C.S. Lewis Lectureship was established in Chattanooga in 1983 by Charles Hummel of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to perpetuate the Christian and literary legacy of Clive Staples Lewis.

Tonight at 7:30pm, at the University Center Auditorium, Ken Myers will be speaking on "The Second Friend: Owen Barfield's Influence on C.S. Lewis."

Ken Myers is the host and producer of the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal, a bimonthly audio magazine that examines issues in contemporary culture from a framework shaped by Christian conviction. He was formerly the editor of This World: A Journal of Religion and Public Life, a quarterly journal whose editor-in-chief was Richard John Neuhaus. Prior to his tenure at This World, he was executive editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine. For eight years, he was a producer and editor for National Public Radio, working for much of that time as arts and humanities editor for the two news programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Mr. Myers serves as a contributing editor for Christianity Today, and his published writings include All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture (Crossway Books: 1989), and (as editor) Aspiring to Freedom: Commentaries on John Paul II's Encyclical "The Social Concerns of the Church" (William B. Eerdmans: 1988). He has also written for numerous periodicals, including The Wilson Quarterly, TableTalk, Discipleship Journal, World, Crisis, First Things, The Washington Times, and The World & I. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where he studied film theory and criticism, and of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

History Tenure-Track Faculty Positions at UTC

For those of you looking for tenure-track faculty jobs, consider the following open positions at UTC: