This semester at CCT

Besides publishing articles, videos, and podcasts through The Table, Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought runs other activities every semester, including a residential research fellowship program on Biola’s campus, and private and public events for scholars, pastors, and the general public. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately…

(L to R standing): Jessica Hooten Wilson, Mark Whitlock, David Downs, Jason McMartin, Gregg Ten Elshof, Tom Crisp, Greg Peterson. (L to R seated): Tania Abouezzidine, Lynn Underwood, Laura Pelser, Steve Porter, Evan Rosa

Fall 2017 Fellowship Program: Suffering & the Good Life

CCT launched its seventh year of operations in August 2017 (and it’s twelfth academic fellowship cohort), welcoming an interdisciplinary group of four Visiting Research Fellows: Lynn Underwood (Case Western Reserve University’s Inamori Center), David Downs (Fuller Theological Seminary), Jessica Hooten Wilson (John Brown University), and Greg Peterson (South Dakota State University); three Biola University Research Fellows: Amy Obrist (Modern Languages), Jason McMartin (Theology), Tania Abouezzeddine (Psychology); and one Pastor-in-Residence: Mark Whitlock (Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church, Irvine, CA).

This fellowship cohort will explore the research theme “Suffering & the Good Life” over the course of the semester as they work on individual research projects and collaborate together in weekly roundtable seminars.

CCT also awarded two Course Development Grants to Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandolfo (Wake Forest University) and Mark J. Baird (Whitworth University), both on the theme of Suffering & the Good Life.

Visiting Scholars

In September 2017, CCT welcomed two Visiting Scholars to present and lead discussion of work on “Suffering & the Good Life”: philosopher Eleonore Stump and theologian Miroslav Volf.

Eleonore Stump on “The Problem of Suffering: A Thomistic Approach”

Eleonore Stump, the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, presented on “The Problem of Suffering: A Thomistic Approach”—drawing on work from her widely discussed book, Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering.

Miroslav Volf on “The End of Memory and the Response to Suffering”

Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School, presented perspectives on suffering based in his book The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World, leading a discussion on the value of theodicy for the experience of suffering, the meaning of Christ’s suffering in the life of faith, and the meaning of explanation as opposed to liberation from suffering.

Crystal Park on “Suffering, Religion, and Meaning-Making Models”

In October, CCT will host psychologist Crystal Park of University of Connecticut.

Julie Exline on “Suffering and Spiritual Struggle”

In November, CCT will host psychologist Julie Exline of Case Western Reserve University.

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The Table Conference logo

On September 21-22, CCT hosted its annual event, The Table Conference. This year’s theme was “Resilience: Growing Stronger Through Struggle,” and featured a diverse group of speakers, each giving 20-30 minute talks on the possibility of growing in, through, beyond, and in spite of suffering. Click here for the conference webpage, including detailed information about the conference. Click here for a full conference program, including a liturgy of scripture, poems, and prayers, written specifically for the conference.

Ethicist Stacey Floyd-Thomas speaks on "That We May Dare to Suffer: The Moral Muster and Theological Urgency of Human Flourishing"

Miroslav Volf speaking on "Vanquishing Suffering: Apostle Paul and the Victory Over Suffering"

Eleonore Stump speaks on "Heartbrokenness and the Problem of Suffering: The Story of Mary of Bethany"

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In September 2017, CCT launched its first official online course through Biola Learn—an exploration of key focal questions from each of CCT’s seven research themes.

Each of the seven course segment includes 10-20 minutes of video-based instruction and questions for reflection, all geared around distinctively Christian approaches to the Why, What, and How of life’s biggest questions. We framed the course content by selecting key focal questions from each of our seven research themes between 2012-2017 and working with scholars who were involved in those year’s research activities. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Biola University President Barry Corey on “How should we seek Christian wisdom?”
  • Philosopher J. P. Moreland on “What does it mean to be human?”
  • CCT Scholar-in-Residence and philosopher/theologian Steve Porter on “How do we grow?”
  • Communications scholar Tim Meuhlhoff on “How can we disagree and still get along?”
  • CCT Scholar-in-Residence and philosopher Thomas Crisp on “What does it mean to love our neighbors?”
  • Philosopher Kent Dunnington on “How can we become humble?”
  • Psychologist Elizabeth Hall on “How can we find meaning in suffering?”

Click here to register for the course.