Monday, November 28, 2011

Dr. Hovey publishes a collection of readings in political theology

The book gathers some of the most significant and influential writings in political theology from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Given that Christianity's center of gravity is undeniably shifting to the global South, this volume uniquely integrates key voices from Africa, Asia, and Latin America with central texts from Europe and North America on such major subjects as church and state, gender and race, and Christendom and postcolonialism.

"We're really excited about this book," says Hovey. "These readings show an astounding breadth of ideas coming from Christians around the world, many of whom simply don't share our American anxiety about church and state, which has tended to restrict Christianity's importance to the private sphere of individual spirituality. I think readers will be amazed by the alternatives that are out there."

Carefully selected, thematically arranged, and expertly introduced, these forty-nine essential readings constitute an ideal primary-source introduction to contemporary political theology — a profoundly relevant resource for globally engaged citizens, students, and scholars.

"Political Theology is something of a loose term and our hope with this project has been to give it some clearer contours," Hovey says. "I think students will love it. I can't wait to use it in the classroom." And they won't have to wait too long. Hovey is using this book in REL301 Church, State and Society next semester.

Read William Cavanaugh's blog post about the book.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If you're going to San Francisco . . .

The religion professors are heading out to San Francisco this week for the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL). Ashland's Religion Department is well represented:
Dr. Sue Dickson is presenting two papers. One at the AAR: Muslim–Christian Dialogue: Using Technology to Connect Students Internationally and Interreligiously; and one at the SBL: The Job Project: Interactions between the Book of Job and Displaced Communities and Their Neighbors in South America. Dr. Craig Hovey is presiding over a wild card session, The Hermeneutics of Tradition; Dr. Peter Slade's paper is, Why Should the Charismatics Have All the Good Music?: The Unintended Consequence for Evangelicals of the Rise of Contemporary Worship.
So if you are going to San Francisco why not check them out!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Upper Level Religion Courses for the Spring

REL 240 Jewish Religious Traditions (3:05-5:40, Tues)  
Dr. Yossi Zylberberg
Are you interested in learning more about the various forms of Judaism in contemporary society? And what are the major issues and concerns facing Jewish communities in the world today?  This course, taught by a visiting professor with many years of experience as a Rabbi and teacher of Judaic studies, deals with a question that is central to all forms of Judaism: how do written and oral traditions combine to create the fabric of contemporary Jewish life?  Students will become familiar with selected Rabbinic writings and methods of Jewish Biblical interpretation as well as distinctive Jewish religious practices and observances.  Meets Core credit for Humanities; no prerequisites.

 REL 214  Christian Formation  (9:25-10:40 TTh)  
Dr. Sue Dickson
What does it mean to be Christian? How does one become Christian and how do we keep growing in faithfulness? What does it mean to ‘make disciples of all nations’ and ‘teach

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Visiting Scholar shares her research into AIDS and Pentecostalism in SA.

On Monday, October 24, Dr. Katherine Attanasi gave the department's  Religion & Society Annual Lecture. This year we were able to tie in with the College of Arts & Science's Symposium against global indifference.  Dr. Attanasi is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Regent University (PhD. Vanderbilt University, MTh., M Ed., Harvard) where she teaches Christian Ethics. She recently completed work on a co-edited volume with Amos Yong entitled Pentecostalism and Prosperity: The Socio-economics of the Global Charismatic Movement (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming). 

In her lecture, South African Pentecostalism and the Gendered Politics of HIV Prevention, Attanasi shared findings and conclusions from her doctoral research.

Dr. Attanasi also met with religion students over meals and in the classroom. Religion major Corey Smith said, "I was very grateful for the opportunity to speak with someone in the  middle of a larger research project that would have meaningful impact on a community. Dr. Attanassi's lecture and discussion time was extremely helpful both in raising our awareness of her particular field  of research in gender issues within the Pentecostal church in South  Africa as well as encouraging and equipping us to think critically and  creatively in our own areas of interest."

If you missed the lecture you are not too late, you can watch it on the university's media site.

The Religion & Society Annual Lectures started in 2009. Past lectures were:
John Kiess (Loyola), "When War is Our Daily Bread: Congo, Theology, and the Ethics of Contemporary Conflict."
Elizabeth Philips (Cambridge), "Christian Zionism, Violence, and Peace in the Middle East."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

News from our Graduates: Polly Hitchcock '10

Polly Hitchcock graduated in December 2011. Here is what she has been up to:

Since graduating from Ashland 10 months ago, I have been in 3 countries and 4 states. I spent the past 9 months working for Global Assistance Partners, a non-profit working with local church leaders to bring discipleship and in-depth training to their people in both Kenya and the Ukraine. We also serve orphans and widows with humanitarian aid and support for education in Kenya. I worked as a Director of Operations, communicating with and advising in the 2 countries, evaluating on the ground work and researching finance and organization policies. 
I love to travel and love working in the church, so it was a fulfilling time. This summer I decided to go ahead and get back to school, and last week I started my MA in theology back in Ashland, at the seminary! I'm looking forward to more knowledge and growth, in order to continue to build up the body of Christ through teaching in the local church.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

International peacemaker comes to class

Mrs. Neerja R. Prasad of Nagpur, India visited Dr. Sue Dickson's REL341 'World Christianity and Mission' class on Thursday, Oct 4, 2011. Mrs. Prasad serves as the Secretary of the Synodical Women's Fellowship for Christian Service in the Church of North India, and is traveling throughout the United States for the month of October as an International Peacemaker with the Presbyterian Church (USA).
 Mrs. Prasad, a Christian activist in many areas of social justice including human trafficking, poverty and gender justice also met with students over lunch in Convo. Mrs. Prasad is a third generation Christian. Her grandfather had been a successful and well-known manufacturer in the South of India. When he converted to Christianity, his community boycotted his products and he and his family were outcast. He migrated with his family to the north where he took a new, Christian surname. Because of his Christian surname, his new community accused him of being a traitor to his country by adopting a foreign religion. The family migrated again, this time to Nagpur where Mrs. Prasad was raised. Mrs. Prasad, has been instrumental in rescuing young women from forced labor and sexual exploitation, in founding orphanages for the children of Christians murdered in the Red Corridor, and in establishing interreligious neighborhood communities to promote understanding, peace, and social justice.  .

Thursday, September 29, 2011

News from our Graduates: Rachel Poorman '11

Rachel Poorman graduated from AU with a double major, Religion and Sports Science, in May of 2011. She began classes in the Master of Divinity program at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey this fall. Here’s what Rachel has to say about that:

I am doing really well. I love being here in Princeton and am almost finished with my first week of classes. Everything is always a little crazy at first with tons of new books and readings, but I think soon enough I will be settled in and ready to go! I can feel that God has great things in store for me here...and I'm extremely excited as I begin this new journey! The administrators, faculty, and students here at Princeton Theological Seminary have been warm and welcoming. As I begin this new and amazing journey I am continually aware of God's active presence and comfort in my life. Although many of my thoughts consist of questions without answers concerning God's purpose in bringing me here to study and grow, I've come to appreciate the unknown, and gained peace through the patience I've learned to practice while discerning God's call in my life. I have started the application process for an international field education experience next summer, and I believe I will continue to be blown away by God's work in my life throughout this first year at Princeton.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dr. Hovey's two new books

Dr. Craig Hovey has two books out for the summer! In July, Eerdmans is publishing  his book Bearing True Witness: Truthfulness in Christian Practice, Eerdmans, 2011
If proclaiming the gospel is at root a matter of telling the truth about the way things are, then Christian witnesses are paradigmatic truth-tellers. In Bearing True Witness Craig Hovey engages modern theology, philosophy, and ethics — including the work of Nietzsche, Foucault, and MacIntyre — to consider how Christians see, recognize, embrace, and bear witness to the truth of Jesus Christ.
If you are going to the beach before you can get your hands on Bearing True Witness, then not to worry because Hovey contributed the chapter “Christian Ethics as Good News,” in  Imaginative Apologetics: Theology, Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition, ed. Andrew Davison, SCM Press, 2011. This volume hit the book stands last month (in England).
Imaginative Apologetics draws on much that is most vibrant in contemporary theology to develop Christian apologetics for the present day. The contributors are leaders in their fields. They represent a confident approach to theology, grounded in a deep respect for the theological tradition of the Church. They display a perceptive interest in philosophy, and unlike many works of apologetics their interest is in the philosophy of the present day, not only that of previous centuries

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Religion Banquet - honors society inductees

The annual religion department banquet for religion majors and minors included the induction of the first members of the Alpha Kappa Delta chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa (National  Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology).
The new ThAKers: (L to R) Keenan Parker, Paul Lattimer, Michael Good, Dr. David Aune, MacKenzie Lake, Rachel Poorman, Stephanie Rickel, Cory Smith.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Student wins best undergraduate essay from the Midwest American Academy of Religion

Religion senior, Stephanie Rickel, attended the Midwest American Academy of Religion (MAAR) annual meeting in Rock Island, Ill. April 1-3. 

Stephanie presented her paper "Liturgy, Time, and Secularism's Imitation"as part of a session devoted to undergraduate research for which she won the conference award for best undergraduate essay. 

The American Academy of Religion is the most important professional organization for the study Religion in the United States. There are regional meetings that take place throughout the year in addition to the big, nation-wide annual meeting in the Fall. "Winning this award [best undergraduate essay] is a testament to Stephanie's skill as a young theologian, careful thinker, and sophisticated writer," said Dr. Craig Hovey, her thesis advisor. "Stephanie has worked hard for over a year on a set of theological topics that led her to interact with the work of some of the most important living Christian theologians. She is particularly gifted at explaining difficult ideas and showing why they matter."

Stephanie’s paper was a condensed version of her religion major thesis of the same title. To read her prize winning thesis click here

Profs Present Papers at Conference

The religion department was well represented at the Midwest American Academy of Religion (MAAR) annual meeting in Rock Island, Ill.

Rev. Dr. Sue Dickson presented a paper titled “'Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Using Technology to Connect Students Internationally and Inter-religiously”  The paper explored the use of SKYPE or SKYPE equivalent technology to connect students from across the globe. It reviewed some of the research done in the past sixty years on the impact that technology and the media have had- and could have- on individuals and society; described the Soliya Connect Program, as one way to use media in a socially responsible way in the classroom; and evaluated the fall 2010 AU Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar which participated in the Soliya Connect Program to link students across national and religious boundaries.

Dr. Craig Hovey presented a paper titled "Is There a Christian Ethic for Emperors?" His paper was part of a panel responding to Peter Leithart's book, Defending Constantine, to which Leithart, in turn, responded. The essay is forthcoming in the Mennonite Quarterly Review

Ramadan Road Trip Program to be Held on Campus

On Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium, Ashland University will host a unique program that will highlight the adventure of Aman Ali (better known for his comedic appearances on CNN, HBO, ABC News, and NPR) and Bassam Tariq as they traveled to 30 mosques in 30 states within 30 days.

Immediately following the presentation, a discussion with Ali will follow in the Eagles’ Landing of the Hawkins-Conard Student Center. This event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break 2011: Students travel to Mississippi as part of the class ‘Religion and the Civil Rights Movement’

Eight students traveled with Dr. Slade to Jackson, Mississippi to do service learning with Voice of Calvary, meet with civil rights veterans and community activists and to engage ongoing questions of race, religion, reconciliation and justice.