Category: Faculty Associates
On March 30th, Dana Robert delivered the annual Donald A. Yerxa Lecture in History at Eastern Nazarene College. She probed the role of “Cross-Cultural Christian Friendships in the Age of Nationalist Revolution, 1950s-1970s,” asserting that these close connections were costly in the midst of shifting political arrangements, but that they were important reminders that Christianity was a multi-ethnic, global religion. Christian friendships that did not collapse under the extraordinary pressure and violence of nationalism underscored the reality of world Christianity.
The lecture also pointed to another type of enduring friendship. Dana Robert has been the reader for four dissertations written by Nazarene scholars. All four were able to attend the lecture and are pictured below.
Dana L. Robert, Director of the Center for Global Christianity & Mission, was selected a Luce Fellow for 2016-2017 by the Association of Theological Schools and the Henry Luce Foundation. Selected on the basis of the strength of her proposal to conduct creative and innovative theological research, Professor Robert will conduct yearlong research on “Transnational Friendships and Fellowship in the Making of World Christianity.” At the conclusion of her research, she will meet with the other Fellows to present her work, before moving it to publication.
The Handbook on Popular Spiritual Movements (PSM) in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia was a research project and publication owned by Trinity Theological College (TTC), Singapore, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Poon, Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia (CSCA). Boston University, through the Center for Global Christianity and Mission, was a supportive partner through the participation of Dr. Charles Farhadian (PhD 2000) as a co-editor, Dr. Dana Robert as a consulting editor, and the Drs. Septemmy Lakawa (ThD, 2011), Daryl Ireland (PhD 2015), and David Scott (PhD, 2013) as contributors to section III: Case Studies of Popular Spiritual Movements.
This new volume, edited by Michael Nai-Chiu Poon and John Roxborogh, will provide broad insight into Christianity in major parts of South East Asia. Not only was CGCM director Dana Robert involved in the planning of the volume, but also a number of BU alumni made contributions, including consulting editor Charles Farhadian (’00), Daryl Ireland (’15), Septemmy Lakawa (’11), and David Scott (’13).
(left to right: Todd Johnson, Dana Robert (CGCM), and Ken Ross)
Civilitas is a new organization that seeks to encourage evangelicals to have important conversations about difficult topics. It is born out of the initiative of the Rev. Doug Birdsall, former president of the American Bible Society and the Lausanne Movement. Birdsall was motivated to start conversations after the white-supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine innocent people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015. Birdsall was saddened, outraged, and disturbed that black men and women could not feel safe in their own churches.
He brought together Christian pastors and academics from diverse backgrounds to have conversations about what happened and how to heal. This effort led to the foundation of the Civilitas Group.
A number of the CGCM’s members and affiliates were present at the recent founders dinner in Boston. It was a very well attended event, which bodes well for the future of this important organization.
The Civilitas Group is still getting started. More information can be found in an article in Gordon College’s The Bell: http://stories.gordon.edu/dialogue-in-action-gordon-student-scholars-and-the-civilitas-group/.
On September 25, Professor Liz Parsons gave a lecture about her new book The Greatest Work in the World: Education as a Mission of Early Twentieth Century Churches of Christ. She spoke about her research on the exchanges written between Lloyd Cline Sears (1895-1986) and Pattie Hathaway Armstrong (1899-1977), two prominent leaders of Churches of Christ. She talked about the major themes she found in these letters, mainly focusing on their educational philosophy and their counter-cultural perspective. Jeremy Hegi, a third year Ph.D student, responded. There was a lively discussion concerning the practical implication of the letters for contemporary American Christians. Many CGCM faculty members and students joined the discussion.
On June 19th, Professor Rady Roldan-Figueroa will be in Madrid, Spain presenting his research on “Anticlericalismo, filosemitismo e identidad prostestate en el Carrascón.” Details about the conference can be found below.
The Historical Society received funding from the John Templeton Foundation to explore Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs. Research in various fields was conducted from 2011 to 2014, and the results were often counterintuitive. Counter to popular images of religion as a conservative force that regularly inhibits creativity, scholars described a more dynamic religious impulse. Dana Robert, Director of the Center for Global Christianity & Mission, participated in the project, arguing that Protestant missions were a major source of social innovation and democratic nationalism at the beginning of the twentieth-century. A preview of her research and that of others, may be found in: What Connection is There, if any, Between Christianity and Innovation?
Since 1988, Dana Robert has served on the Board of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals. Over the years, the ISAE produced important literature on a number of topics, including the relationship between American Evangelicalism and missions. At the end of October, the ISAE gathered for the final time. They both looked to the past, and what the institute has accomplished, as well as to the future and what horizons are yet to be explored.
Dana L. Robert, CGCM director, presented, “Twentieth-Century Mission Studies and the Narrative of ‘World Christianity’.’” The audio file is a fascinating historical study on the rise of the term, “World Christianity.”