Wabash Center

I just got back from Crawfordsville, Indiana for the first of my three sessions with the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. The Center really knows how to create a space that is generative for reflection on our pedagogies; I already have lots of ideas for when I get back into the classroom this Spring! I’m looking forward to reuniting with the leaders and my cohort at our January session in Corpus Christi, Texas.

A big thanks to all the staff for all their organizing and hospitality!

Conference with Villanova University

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En route home from a really enriching time at Villanova University’s Center for Church Management. We gathered to hear the findings from our (the ten fellows’) year-long investigations on clergy financial literacy. We were graced by the expertise of eight senior scholars (an arguable “who’s who” of the field) to help us hone our final drafts for publication. All this was beautifully orchestrated by the most hospitable and generous staff of the Center. Not only did they provide us with an opportunity for academic engagement, but for human joy and creativity, as the picture of us enjoying a Phillies’ skybox attests to! What a fantastic inaugural launch and well-done fellowship. Highly recommend to early- and mid-career scholars interested in church management.

Huge thanks to Chuck Zech, Matthew Manion, Jim Gallo and Megan Lowes for all their hard work!

Wabash Workshop

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I am very excited to be joining thirteen new professors for the 2019-20 Workshop for Early Career Theological School Faculty. This series of three workshops over the course of the academic year, generously funded by the Lilly Endowment, comes highly recommended by my dean, as he benefitted from this program, too. A bit more on the program from their website:

Do you wonder about teaching and the teaching life in theological education? In what ways would a yearlong conversation about teaching and learning ground your vocational identity? This workshop is a collaborative peer opportunity to develop pedagogical skills, reflect on teaching identity, learn in community, and navigate institutional dynamics.

The workshop will gather 14 faculty members for a week in two successive summers at Wabash College, and a weekend winter retreat in Corpus Christi, Texas. There will be a balance of plenary sessions, small group discussions, workshop sessions, structured and unstructured social time, and time for relaxation, exercise, meditation, discovery, laughter, and lots of good food and drink.

Sounds like it’s right up my alley. Thank you, Wabash!

Younger Scholar in the Sociology of Religion

I’m very happy to have heard from the University of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society that I was accepted for participation in their April conference. This is a very generous initiative on CSRS’s part as they are paying for all of the expenses of the younger scholars as well as bringing established scholars in to provide feedback on our work. You can read more about the conference (and register to join us!) here.

It’s official!

Image result for notre dame mcgrath instituteI just got word from our principal investigator, Tricia Bruce at the University of Notre Dame, that we have received the funding for a project examining Americans’ attitudes on abortion. The McGrath Institute for Church Life of the University of Notre Dame will be funding this important work.

In a nutshell: The vast majority of the literature we have on Americans’ attitudes on abortion is from surveys; these tend to offer respondents forced choice/close-ended sorts of questions, which lack the depth or subtleties that may better characterize their true thinking on the issue. The studies that allow respondents to elaborate their beliefs in their own words tend to focus on activists (who are generally not representative of your “typical” American in their position or level of commitment). Using interviews in conjunction with the extant survey data, this study will help us better understand the¬†tensions people navigate and the moral values they tap into when it comes to the abortion issue, as well as illuminate what’s going on behind the survey data.

I’m thrilled!

China Immersion Trip

img_7310I just returned from an amazing faculty immersion trip in Xi’an, Shijiazhuang and Beijing. Big thanks to the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego. It was such a well-organized trip. We got to experience important educational and Catholic sites–schools, seminaries, and Matteo Ricci’s grave–and learn much of what it means to be a Catholic in China. Additionally, we attended cultural shows, ate amazing food, and saw some of the significant historical sites in Northern China. It was a very enriching experience.

Here I am pictured with Kate¬†Yanina DeConinck, an anthropologist of religion from USD’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies, on the Great Wall. Quite the view; thank you, CCTC!