Fruitful, Faithful Presence in the Academy: Part II

Alan G. Padgett, DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN).

In Part I, I explored what Alan G. Padgett, DPhil (Oxford) will share at the upcoming Midwest Faculty Conference: Fruitful, Faithful Presence: Living Theologically in the Midst of the Academy (Cedar Campus, MI, 6/22-28).* Although the conference (or what some have termed a Confamication**) will provide an opportunity for Padgett to develop his thoughts on Fruitful, Faithful Presence in the Academy, he has a significant amount of work in theology involving systematic theology, moral theology (ethics), and the theology-science dialog which you can explore. He is the author or editor of eleven books, including Introducing Christianity (with his wife, Dr. Sally Bruyneel), Christianity and Western Thought (Volumes 2 & 3) and his most recent, The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity. Below are some on-line materials which I recommend you browse, dig into a few of specific interest, and share/discuss with others :)

During our conversation, I couldn’t help but ask Padgett to flesh out a little more about his understanding of “classic Christianity.” I was particularly interested in whom this academic theologian rested his foundation. I found that he truly rested his foundation on Christ alone and the Word of God. To God be the glory! And as such he enjoyed learning from and interacting with Christ-followers across Church History who did likewise. Once he started sharing theologians he appreciated, he couldn’t stop with his “long list” marching through Church History. At the Fruitful, Faithful Presence, I’ll ask one of our friends from Ohio State University to “mine” Padgett for recommendations of material to add to the Dead Theologians Society Reading List. Here’s a teaser of Padgett’s “long list” and links to some writings for your edification.

With regard to his passion for “classic Christianity,” Padgett commented, “In America today, we’ve sort of lost that sense of spirituality’s spiritual home and roots in Scripture, our daily walk with God. That’s what we’re trying to recapture. It’s Christian in that classical sense.” He also pointed out that his presentations on Fruitful, Faithful Presence and his forthcoming writing will explore why and how “theology needs to be grounded in the core of the Christian faith.” He will give concrete historical examples, such as the theology of beauty in relationship to the poetry and music of Charles Wesley. To God be the glory!

But maybe you’re a faculty or know of a faculty on the West Coast, yearning for such a conversation and frustrated that the travel/timing doesn’t match for attending Fruitful, Faithful Presence. What then? If you have not already heard, there will once again be a West Coast Faculty Conference at Campus by the Sea (8/4/2013 – 8/9/2013). The theme will be Doing Justice, Loving Kindness, and Walking Humbly with God in Higher Education. As in previous years, the West Coast Faculty Conference will share Campus by the Sea with an InterVarsity Alumni Camp. During the week they will participate jointly in manuscript Bible study and other activities. Afternoons provide an opportunity to rest, play or visit with friends and family with no formal program.

In the morning…

At this year’s Faculty Conference, we’ll take an in-depth look at various teachings of Jesus in the gospels, exploring what it looks like in practice in all sorts of everyday situations to “act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.”

In the evening…

We will gather as a community of learning and prayer to wrestle with the central question asked by the prophet Micah: “What does the LORD require of all people? To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Some of the questions we will explore are:

  • How is “justice” understood biblically? What is this “kindness” that God requires?
  • What are some practical opportunities and challenges for Christian faculty to do justice and to love kindness among the people, ideas and structures of higher education?
  • How might advocating for and doing justice on campus impact the world beyond campus?

To learn more about the West Coast Faculty Conference, and the speakers who will be addressing Doing Justice, Loving Kindness, and Walking Humbly with God in Higher Education, click here. Stay tuned for more :)

Are you from another other part of the country and desire to have such an opportunity closer to you in 2014, 2015 . . . ? Please email me. InterVarsity’s Faculty Ministry is prayerfully exploring new ways/venues to serve a growing movement not only of faculty, but also more broadly Emerging Scholars. If you desire to be involved in the cutting edge in your area, including providing recommendations of next steps, we desire to hear from you!

*Note: If you’re a faculty member and desire to participate in Fruitful, Faithful Presence (families welcome!), but have not registered, please click here.

**This event encompasses much more than the word conference can possibly contain, so a new word has been added to the lexicon. “Confamication” captures it as a stimulating conference, a restful vacation, which can both include and be a delight to the whole family. And it is a welcoming place for singles, couples and children as well.

To learn more about Faculty Conferences which not only provide space for academic discussion and quiet reflection, but also welcomes and provides great time for singles, couples, and family, click here. To God be the glory! Note: Picture of Campus by the Sea (Catalina Island, CA), location of the West Coast Faculty Conference.

Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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