James Wilhoit

James Wilhoit

Visiting Research Fellow (Spring 2014)

James Wilhoit (Ph.D., Northwestern University; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Scripture Press Chair of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.

"I graduated with a BA from the University of Washington with a degree in history, with an emphasis in ancient and medieval history. It was in my late high school and early college years that I grew in my faith. College was a time of spiritual and intellectual growth for me. I am grateful to the ministers from my home church, Longview Community Church, to the wonderful InterVarsity program and Christian students at the University of Washington and to one of my major professors for the nurture she provided. This professor was not a Christian, but she taught me to read texts well and held out the possibility that we could actually come to deeply understand ancient leaders and writers. Her faith in what a careful and contextually informed reading of a text could tell us spurred me on to read the Gospels with greater care. After some years of graduate study I began my teaching career at Wheaton College in 1981. I initially taught courses on teaching the Bible and the History and Philosophy of Christian Education. Over the years my teaching load has shifted more and more to the area of Christian Formation and Spirituality."

CCT Research Project: "Cultivating Mindfulness: Guidance from the Christian Tradition"

Abstract
In the past thirty years there has been a growing interest in fields of study concerned with human performance in mindfulness. In some writings it is presented as a virtual panacea for problems in psychology, education, management and daily living. Not only is it presented as effective in dealing with human struggles; it is often suggested as an essential means to human flourishing. For example, at the World Congress of Positive Psychology in 2009 the effectiveness of mindfulness practices to engender flourishing was assumed as a given in many presentations. With the presence of mindfulness in therapy, education, management and wellness, it is incumbent that Christians think hard about the role of mindfulness in a fully Christian approach to human life and growth. I believe mindfulness is a construct present in the Christian desert tradition, the Bible and in many writers in Christian spirituality and can be judiciously employed by Christians in spiritual formation.

Click here to view Dr. Wilhoit's Wheaton College profile

Personal Bio

I was born in Seattle, Washington and when I was four my family moved to Clatskanie, Oregon, a small town in Northwest Oregon. We lived there for nine years, and I came to love the woods and water of Oregon and have fond memories of hours spent exploring the woods near our home.

We later moved across the Columbia River to Longview, Washington. I graduated with a BA from the University of Washington with a degree in history, with an emphasis in ancient and medieval history. It was in my late high school and early college years that I grew in my faith. College was a time of spiritual and intellectual growth for me. I am grateful to the ministers from my home church, Longview Community Church, to the wonderful InterVarsity program and Christian students at the University of Washington and especially to one of my major professors for the nurture she provided. This professor taught me to read texts well and held out the possibility that we could actually come to deeply understand and learn from ancient leaders and writers. Her faith in what a careful and contextually informed reading of a text could tell us spurred me on to read the Gospels with greater care.

After some years of graduate study I began my teaching career at Wheaton College in 1981 (Ph.D. from Northwestern University). I initially taught courses on teaching the Bible and the History and Philosophy of Christian Education. Over the years my teaching load has shifted to focus on Christian Formation and Spirituality.

I hold the Scripture Press Chair in Christian Education. My current research and writing concerns teaching the Bible and the role of mindfulness in Christian Formation. In my time away from school I enjoy doing things with my family, gardening and service in my church. Carol and I have been married thirty-seven years and two wonderful young adult daughters.

My work at the Center for Christian Thought will be devoted to a project on Cultivating Mindfulness: Guidance from the Christian Tradition. Mindfulness has become a very popular clinical and self-help intervention in recent years. I am interested in identifying the early Christian teachings on this important life-orientation.

Jim Wilhoit
July 2013

Resources

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