Omar Montero teaches architecture and design at Buenos Aires University, Argentina’s premier institution of higher learning. When he heard about the Society of Christian Scholars, he said, only somewhat facetiously, “I thought I was the only Christian scholar in the secular academic world! I had no idea that there were so many believing academics in secular institutions.”
Omar was so encouraged by this discovery that he committed his life to fulfilling the challenge expressed by Christian historian George Marsden in 1998:
Contemporary Christian scholarship will not realize its potential unless it can establish a strong institutional base. Isolated individuals in university culture can make impressive efforts here and there, but unless their voices are united, they will be lost in the general cacophony of the contemporary academy (The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, page 101).
Now there is a global organization––a partner with, and complement to, the Emerging Scholars Network––designed specifically to help professors, graduate students, administrators, and post-docs to be salt and light in higher education. Called the Society of Christian Scholars, it is an internationally led, interdisciplinary movement established by about two dozen scholars from 15 different countries. Professor Osam Edim Temple of Nigeria chairs the Society’s Executive Committee. After its first two years, the Society has about 350 members from about 60 nations. Locally led, national movements of the Society are already emerging in Anglophone Africa, Francophone Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
The Society serves its members—and enables its members to serve each other—through webinars, conferences, peer mentoring, online resources, editing of academic papers, and more. Here are a few examples:
- Marlene Hines (Jamaica), who has professional expertise in educational administration, library sciences and transformational leadership, became the Society’s librarian, curating an online library of 800 relevant resources (and growing daily).
- Jean Takeuchi, a Japanese native who spent most of her career as a chemistry researcher and also holds a doctorate in Old Testament, presented one of the Society’s recent monthly webinars, discussing “An Integrated Life: The Interface of Scientific Research and Christian Commitment.”
- Elizabeth Olayiwola, a young scholar who specializes in analyzing the work of Nigerian evangelical filmmakers, called on the Society’s editorial services to help her prepare an essay that was accepted for publication in a forthcoming book on African film. “The Society’s editorial department has been of immense help to my career!” she remarked.
By joining the Society, you can both serve your academic brothers and sisters around the world and benefit from these services too. Full membership is limited to people serving on staff at public (or “secular”) institutions, but others are welcome to join as “Students” or “Friends.”
You can join now on a free 30-day trial basis at www.SocietyofChristianScholars.org. You’ll immediately receive a free electronic copy of The Outrageous Idea of the Missional Professor: International Edition by Paul Gould (USA), with Li Ma (China), Omar Montero (Argentina), Granville Pillar (Hungary), Osam Temple (Nigeria), Bee-Lan C. Wang (Malaysia/USA), and Keith Campbell (USA).
About the author:
Keith Campbell is Vice President of Program Development with Global Scholars and a member of the Society of Christian Scholars Executive Committee. Keith taught four years as Visiting Lecturer of New Testament at Shanghai Normal University in Shanghai, China, and two years as Adjunct Instructor of New Testament and Theology at Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary in Beijing. He’s the author of several books and articles on biblical lament and on missiology. When he’s not working and traveling, you’ll find Keith camping next to a warm fire with friends in a picturesque wilderness. Keith lives with his wife Rhonda and three dogs (Sierra, Bella, and Daisy) in a North Carolina, mountain cabin.
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