Welcome to Theology Lived
This website is dedicated to the integration of faith and learning at Biola University and beyond. It is sponsored and maintained by the Office for Faith and Learning at Biola University. Others are welcome to participate and contribute!
|The Table Talk series for Spring 2014 will focus on four great English literary figures of the 20th century: Chesterton, Tolkien, Sayers and Lewis. Though these authors were not all part of the famed “Inklings” in a direct sense, they all were all admirers of each other’s writings. All of these authors elegantly addressed the questions of their day, bringing them into conversation with the great themes of the Christian faith. All of them did this by writing creative and compelling works of literature. For each of these authors, we will consider how their theology informed their literature, and consider how this helped make them effective witnesses in their cultural moments. Our hope is that we can learn to follow in their footsteps in our own cultural moment!|
|At our first Table Talk, February 19th, Chris Mitchell shared his insights on the author and philosopher, G.K. Chesterson.
You may view his presentation by clicking on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENyr75fblzc
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March 27th Melissa Schubert shared on her studies of J.R.R. Tolkien and the inspiration he brings to her teaching
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Fred Sanders presented information about the life and writings of Dorothy L. Sayers at the April 16th luncheon
Click here to view Fred’s presentation: Table Talk Dorothy L.Sayers by Fred Sanders
This fall our Table Talks focus on Christianity and the Arts. We want to speak to the University’s theme “Spirit and Story” as well as acknowledging the launch of the Center for Christianity Culture and the Arts.
The relationship between Christianity and the arts has varied widely through the centuries. For a lengthy period of time in the Middle Ages, the church was a major benefactor of the arts. However, for various reasons certain branches of the Protestant Reformation looked askance at the arts. For example, George Müller, the famous prayer warrior and founder of Christian orphanages in 19th century England, stated that he only went to the theater twice after his conversion. He recalled of the first visit: “I went to a concert but felt that it was unbecoming for me, as a Child of God, to be in such a place.” In a similar vein, Scottish Brethren preacher John Ritchie was asked if he objected to a believer reading a high-class work of fiction. He did: “Novels—the best of them—are lies…to speak of high-class falsehood is strange language…. Can any child of God be helped in spiritual life by that? Certainly not. Our advice, therefore, is, have nothing whatever to do with fiction. Read and meditate on the Word of God.”
In our contemporary context, there is still a palpable tension with the arts in certain Christian communities, while others embrace the arts as a very specific part of a church planting strategy, and still others embrace arts with little Christian reflection at all.
So it is into this somewhat confused conversation that our Fall Table Talks will speak. We will look at specific examples of the arts and reflect on how they express and interact with the Christian Gospel. I think our times will be insightful and enjoyable so please make plans to attend!
Commentary on Northwoods Journals
Kurt Simonson will be a featured photographer in an exhibit in the Biola Art Gallery this fall. Our Table Talk will look at some of the pictures featured in his exhibit and hear comments and interaction with them from Jon Anderson and Chris Davidson.
To view Jon and Chris’ presentation, click here: Commentary on Northwoods Journals
To view Chris Davidson’s powerpoint commentary, click here: Chris Davidson on Home is Where
To view Jon Anderson’s powerpoint commentary; stored on Google Drive, click here: Jon Anderson powerpoint on Home is Where
Monday, November 4th Trevor Hart—President’s Luncheon
Though this is not technically a Table Talk, we want to strongly encourage all of those who regularly attend Table Talk to join the President’s Luncheon on November 4th. The guest speaker is Dr. Trevor Hart, a professor of divinity at St. Mary’s College at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Dr. Hart is Biola’s fall 2013 Visionary-in-Residence, and is a leading thinker on Christianity and the Arts.
Wednesday, December 4th The Incarnation and the Arts
We will consider various responses to the incarnation from the visual arts, literature and music. It will be a great preparation for your Advent!
A variety of faculty shared their musings and ministry related to the Annunciation event.
There are few issues where Christianity is more in tension with our culture than in issues related to human sexuality. We live in a climate that is sexually permissive, generally self-indulgent, and usually confused. It seems the only thing which is immoral is declaring someone else’s sexual practice to be immoral. At the same time, many Christians seem to affirm their moral commitments in a way that is offensive not only to our culture at large, but to many Christians as well. Other Christians find it hard to speak at all because they feel like they are at odds with the findings of modern science and they fear being ignorant or ill-informed.
In the spring of 2013, we are going to be engaging this controversial topic at our Table Talk luncheons. These luncheons are designed to help us think through important issues in a way that integrates the best of faith and learning. Though we will pay particular attention to homosexuality, we will also be addressing broader issues of marriage and human sexuality, as well as discussing ways to engage these issues with civility and respect. It should be an exciting time!
Here’s the schedule, we will be posting videos of the luncheons as we go along:
Shouting Doesn’t Help Me Hear You–Tim Muehlhoff
One of the projects Tim worked on in graduate school was facilitating a discourse between students from an evangelical campus ministry and self-identified gay students. Tim will share about this experience as well as sharing some wisdom on “abnormal discourse” and strategies for effective communication in an adversarial environment.
To view Tim’s powerpoint, click here: The Argument Culture
To view Tim’s Presentation, click here: February 2013 Table Talk
The Origins of Sexual Orientation–Tammy Anderson
Tammy has been actively involved with the GLBT community in various settings within academic psychology. She will provide an overview of current research regarding the origins of sexual orientation as well as some very practical experience in working with the GLBT community.
To view Tammy’s powerpoint, click here: Origins of Homosexuality
To view Tammy’s Presentation, click here: March 2013 Table Talk
Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality–Matt Jenson and Darian Lockett
Matt and Darian will discuss important biblical passages concerning homosexuality, as well as some of the hermeneutical issues that sit behind contemporary discussions of homosexuality and the bible. They will also consider some of the challenges of pastoral ministry to the gay community.
To view Matt and Darian’s powerpoint, click here: Homosexuality and Scripture
To view Matt and Darian’s Presentation, click here: April 2013 Table Talk
Thursday, May 16: Marriage: Straight and Gay–Rick Langer and Panel Discussion
Rick will discuss biblical perspectives of marriage and how those translate into modern social policy–especially as related to same-sex marriage. We will conclude our time with a panel discussion including all of the presenters from this Spring’s series.
To view Rick’s presentation and the panel discussion, click here: May 2013 Table Talk
As so many have done before me, I thought I’d borrow (and butcher) this phrase from Tertullian. Though he originally asked about Athens and Jerusalem in reference to the church and the secular academy, it is fitting to ask the same question about Washington in reference to the church and secular politics. What does our faith have to do with our politics? Join us as we think through this important question which is particularly timely in an election year!
Starting us off, Rick Langer and Andy Draycott will address Politics and the Bible: The History of a Conversation. Christian political reflection did not begin in 1980 with Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. Ever since Jesus said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what it God’s,” Christians have been contemplating exactly what is Caesar’s and what is God’s. Join us for an in-depth look at this 2000 year old conversation and some very specific applications to our world today.
It will be especially interesting to hear some thoughts on American politics from our brother from the other side of the Pond, Andy Draycott!
To view the September presentation, click here: September 2012 Table Talk
To view Andy’s notes, click here: Notes
Doug Geivett and Dave Peters—Christian Involvement in Contemporary American Politics.
To view the October presentation, click here: October 2012 Table Talk
Dave Peters handout: Biblical Principles for Voting
Doug Geivett handout: Why I’m Voting Republican
Scott Waller—Election 2012 in Retrospect: What happened and where do we go from here?
To view the November presentation, click here: November 2012 Table Talk
Scott Waller presentation: Election Post-Mortem
Here are some questions we hope to address.
- What does the Bible teach about human government? Furthermore, how have Christians understood and practiced these teachings over the last two millennia?
- What does our commitment to the Lordship of Christ mean for political allegiance and political involvement? (If we are “aliens”, does that mean we really do not have anything to do with the politics of this world? On the other hand, does the preeminence of Christ require us to see that he is honored in all realms, including the realm of human political society?)
- How should we vote in a modern political democracy? (Do we vote for Christian candidates? Do we vote for people of character and integrity even if they are not Christians? Do we practice single issue politics? If so, what issue? If not, how do we balance the many issues we confront? How do these questions map onto American political parties?)
- Finally, after the current election has run its course, we want to stop and ask what does the outcome mean for us as Christians? What will be our major political concerns as we move forward?
Atkinson and Field (eds.) New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology
Green, Joel (ed.) Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics
Long, D. Stephen, Christian Ethics. A Very Short Introduction
O’Donovan and O’Donovan, From Ireneaus to Grotius. A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought
Scott and Cavanaugh, The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology
Bauckham, Richard, The Bible in Politics. How to Read the Bible Politically
O’Donovan, Oliver, The Desire of the Nations. Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology
OT – Burnside, Jonathan, God, Justice, and Society. Aspects of Law and Legality in the Bible.
McConville, J.G., God and Earthly Power. An Old Testament Political Theology. Genesis-Kings
Wright, Christopher, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God
NT – Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Discipleship
Stassen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics. Following Jesus in Contemporary Context
Winter, Bruce, Seek the Welfare of the City. Christians as Benefactors and Citizens
Yoder, John Howard, The Politics of Jesus
Bradstock, Andrew, Radical Religion in Cromwell’s England.
Coffey, John: ‘‘Let my people go’: Exodus and Deliverance from Calvin to Obama.’ – University of
Otago, NZ, Thomas Burns Memorial Lectures, 2010
Hill, Christopher, Puritans and Revolution
Leithart, Peter, Defending Constantine. The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom
McDermott, Gerald, One Holy and Happy Society. The Public Theology of Jonathan Edwards
Mahaffey, Jerome D., Preaching Politics. The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation
Mathewes & McKnight Nichols, Prophesies of Godlessness. Predictions of America’s Imminent Secularization from the Puritans to the Present Day
O’Donovan and O’Donovan, Bonds of Imperfection. Christian Politics, Past and Present.
O’Donovan, Oliver, The Desire of the Nations
Rowland, Christopher, Radical Christianity. A Reading of Recovery
Walzer, Michael, Exodus and Revolution, The Revolution of the Saints: A Study in the Origin of Radical Politics
Grudem, Wayne, Politics According to the Bible
Hauerwas and Willimon, Resident Aliens. Life in the Christian Colony
Hauewas, Stanley, The Hauerwas Reader
Marsh, Charles Wayward Christian Soldiers. Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity
Northcott, Michael, An Angel Directs the Storm. Apocalyptic Religion and American Empire
Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?
Wallis, Jim, God’s Politics. Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It
Webb, Stephen, American Providence. A Nation with a Mission
Benson, Berry and Heltzel, Prophetic Evangelicals. Envisioning a Just and Peaceable Kingdom
Bevans and Schroeder, Prophetic Dialogue. Reflections on Christian Mission Today
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Ethics
Gutterman, David, Prophetic Politics. Christian Social Movements and American Democracy
Johnson, Luke Timothy, Prophetic Jesus, Prophetic Church. The Challenge of Luke-Acts to Contemporary Christians
Pally, Marcia, The New Evangelicals. Expanding the Vision of the Common Good
Slessarev-Jamir, Helene, Prophetic Activism. Progressive Religious Justice Movements in Contemporary America
West, Cornel, Prophesy Deliverance! An Afro-American Revolutionary Christianity
Brad Christerson and Dan Callis continue our series on Sacred Space by exploring the idea of cities as sacred spaces. In particular, they will be sharing some of their thoughts on Los Angeles as a post-modern cityscape, and reflecting on cities and their significance in Scripture and contemporary society. Brad and Dan have been involved together in teaching experiences that bring together Brad’s expertise in sociology and Dan’s passion for the arts.
To view the presentation, click here: May 2012 Table Talk
The question Brad and Dan will be addressing is an important one. The contemporary city is a paradox. On the one hand, “urban” conjures up images of poverty, violence, and crime. On the other hand, the entire globe is undergoing a massive urban migration. Why do we go to places we consider to be places of poverty, violence and crime? Perhaps because we are social creatures and are relentlessly drawn towards life in society with others. Perhaps because the city is not only the breeding ground of human depravity, it is also the place where the highest forms of human culture are conceived, brought forth and flourish. Perhaps we live in cities because treasured values like diversity, freedom and self-expression require the inspiration of others to find expression in ourselves. Whatever the reason, the fact remains: we are living in cities in ever-increasing numbers. Finding a Christian voice to address the issues of the post-modern city has to be considered an important task for the church. It is also an important task for Biola if we truly desire to be a global center for Christian thought and spiritual renewal.
Rick Langer and Todd Pickett contribute to our Sacred Space series with reflections on “The Importance of Place in Worship and Remembrance.” Todd will consider the importance of place and solitude in our spiritual lives. Rick will discuss his own experience with a place of remembrance: Buchenwald—a Nazi concentration camp. This camp figured prominently in his own family history, as a place his Grandmother was taken on Kristallnacht, as a place he visited with his Aunt in 1978, and as a place he took his children in their early teens.
We will consider how places help us remember, how they confront us unbidden, how they attach us to reality, and how they resist our denial.
A brief history of the Buchenwald is given in the brochure for the Buchenwald Memorial, excerpted below:
Buchenwald Concentration Camp was established on Ettersberg Hill near Weimar, in July 1937. It was intended for political opponents of the Nazi regime, social misfits, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals. After the start of World War ll, more and more people were sent to the camp from other countries. At the time of the camp’s liberation, 95 per cent of the inmates were not Germans.
Especially from 1943 on, concentration camp inmates were being ruthlessly exploited for the armament industry in Buchenwald and at the camp’s 136 external sites. Although it was not a place of planned genocide in itself, mass killings of prisoners of war took place in the camp, and many inmates died because of medical experiments, or fell victim to arbitrary acts perpetrated by the SS.
Early in 1945, the camp became the final destination of evacuation transports from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen. In an attempt to clear the camp a short time before its liberation, the SS sent approximately 28,000 prisoners on death marches. But around 21,000 prisoners, including 900 children and young people, remained in the camp.
On 11th April 1945, units of the 3rd US Army reached Ettersberg Hill.
The SS fled and the prisoners who were part of the clandestine resistance organization opened the camp from within. Between 1937 and 1945, more than 250,000 people were held captive in the camp and more than 50,000 of them died during this time.
Biola has made 2012 the “Year of the Arts” and we are enjoying a stellar line-up of presentations from thinkers all across the country and around world. Table Talk will be joining this broader discussion by offering a series of discussions on sacred space.
Our first presentation will be given by Jonathan Anderson and Matt Jenson. They remind us that “Sacred Space” is an ongoing conversation and actually a dominant aspect of culture–particularly Western culture. It is as old as the oldest cathedrals – and new as new as recent postmodern theory. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels represents a rich reflection on the unity of the church’s faith in Christ across time and space, but a unity that always finds a home in particular contexts. And so, while it is a decidedly sacred, and indeed Christian, space, it is also a contemporary and indeed Californian space.
You will also find that it is full of surprises! That is why it is so helpful to have guides for your investigation of this sacred space, and Jon and Matt are two of the best! Enjoy!
We provide a 10-hour introduction to systematic theology for our new faculty. It also includes several discussion sessions about the integration of theological concepts with academic disciplines. This seminar is offered in three parts spread out over the fall semester, interterm and spring semester. It culminates with a workshop on integrating faith in the classroom offered the first week of summer school.
Resources and videos related to this seminar are listed below, and links are provided to relevant resources when they are available.
Click here HANDOUT for this session; a video of related lectures given in a slightly different setting is available by clicking on the lecture titles.
(As this series takes place, we will add the video links to the presentations here.)
JP Moreland, Sept 21 video link: The Mind/Body Problem (part 1)
Doug Huffman, Oct 27 video link: The Mind/Body Problem (part 2)
Nancy Duvall, Nov 30 video link: The Mind/Body Problem (part 3)
We live in a confusing cultural moment when it comes to brains, souls, minds and spirits.
Are these all the same thing? Are these all social constructs? Is the brain really the bedrock and everything else is just a cultural contingency? And, furthermore, is science soon to answer these questions? If so, which science? Medicine? Psychology? Neuropsychology? Physiology?
This is not merely an academic controversy. A few moments scanning the web led me to the following quotations:
Brain Surgeon Searches for the Soul
How to wire your brain for religious ecstasy.
Dean Hamer claims to have found a gene associated with “self-transcendence” or “spirituality” in a group of 1,000 subjects who filled out surveys that probed their beliefs in God, ESP, and so on. Hamer calls this gene “the spiritual allele” or, even more dramatically, the “God gene”
I flew to Laurentian University in Midwestern Canada to test a gadget called the “God machine.” The device consisted of computer-controlled solenoids that fit over the skull and stimulate the brain with electromagnetic pulses. Its inventor, neuroscientist Michael Persinger, claimed that it could induce mystical experiences, including visions of “Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Mohammed, the Sky Spirit.”
Logline from the movie Limitless: Bradley Cooper portrays a man who uses a super drug to access 100% of his brain power, essentially becoming the most perfect human.
My personal favorite:
In the end, does the brain create the mind? Or is the Mind already out there? You decide.
You decide?! I’m sorry, but who is “you”? Are “you” a brain or a mind? What in the world is a “decision”? Can a physical object make a choice? What if you decide differently that I do—will you be a brain and while I’m being a mind? If I beat my head against the wall in frustration, will I hurt my brain or my mind?—wait, I know, it’s my choice! I think I’ll hurt my brain but keep my mind…if you don’t mind.
So, back to the point, in the fall of 2011 our Table Talks will focus on this compelling problem. We will be having presentations from JP Moreland (Philosophy), Doug Huffman (Biblical Studies), and Nancy Duvall (Psychology) giving a broad spectrum of the controversy. We will post the videos from these presentations on this page, so come back often to get the updates. For those on campus, the schedule is:
All meetings will take place from 12:00-1:15 in the Cafeteria Dining Room
Resources & Links
We will also be building a list of resources that you may find helpful.
A helpful general bibliography of works addressing this issue has been provided by Doug Huffman:
Some specific sources relevant to JP’s presentation:
Dualism in biblical culture:
John Cooper, Body, Soul & Life Everlasting (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, rev. ed., 2000);
N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press, 2003), pp. 81-84, 128-34, 140-43, 190-206)
Richard Swinburne, The Evolution of the Soul. Oxford: Clarendon, rev. ed., 1997
Thomistic (substance) Dualism:
J. P. Moreland and Scott Rae. Body and Soul. Downers Grove, Illinois: 2000.
Paul Churchland, Matter and Consciousness. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, rev. ed., 1988
Jaegwon Kim, Philosophy of Mind, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996
Some other interesting material:
This piece from Time magazine gives a typical news magazine discussion of the contemporary scene. It also includes a helpful presentation of the distinction between the “easy” and the “hard” problem of consciousness. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1580394,00.html