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Tietoja tekijästä

Richard T. Hughes is a professor emeritus at both Pepperdine University and Messiah College. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than a dozen books including Illusions of Innocence: Protestant Primitivism in America, 1630-1875 and Christian America and the Kingdom of God.

Sisältää nimen: Richard T. Hughs

Sisältää myös: Richard Hughes (5)

Tekijän teokset

Myths America Lives By (2003) 151 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind (2001) 142 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Christian America and the Kingdom of God (2009) 57 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Reclaiming a Heritage (2002) 37 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
The American Quest for the Primitive Church (1988) — Toimittaja; Johdanto — 28 kappaletta
The Primitive Church in the Modern World (1995) — Toimittaja; Esipuhe — 23 kappaletta
The Churches of Christ: Student Edition (2001) 17 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu

Associated Works

Merkitty avainsanalla

Yleistieto

Virallinen nimi
Hughes, Richard Thomas
Muut nimet
Hughes, Richard
Syntymäaika
1943-02-21
Sukupuoli
male
Kansalaisuus
USA
Ammatit
Professor of Religion
Organisaatiot
Pepperdine University

Jäseniä

Kirja-arvosteluja

Summary: An account of the calling of a Christian scholar, emphasizing drawing deeply on the theology of one’s own and other faith traditions, and living in the paradoxical tension of one’s faith and one’s disciplinary scholarship.

Richard T. Hughes is concerned less with the idea of “Christian scholarship” and more concerned with how one is to live out one’s calling as a Christian scholar. For him this involves two elements. One is having “an identity that informs every other aspect of our lives and around which every other aspect of our lives can be integrated.” The other is learning to embrace paradox, as we hold both to an faith informed by our tradition and others, and the perspectives of our discipline.

He describes his own journey of growing up in Restorationist churches, complemented subsequently by studies of Lutheranism and Anabaptism, learning to hold the paradox of grace and discipleship together. He turns his attention to the life of the mind and its requirements of a disciplined search for truth, genuine conversation with diverse perspectives, critical thinking, and intellectual creativity. He contends that this applies to thinking theologically as well as thinking about one’s discipline, so that one’s work is grounded in one’s faith.

Drawing upon the work of Sidney E. Mead, he outlines how both the political leaders and college leaders of the American republic modelled this approach of embracing paradox, holding both to theistic or deistic ideas as well as engaging the Enlightenment thought of the time. They recognized human finitude and the rule of God over human institutions. He moves on the advocate both for understanding the particularities of one’s faith tradition and why we ought move beyond them: the nature of God, the nature of the Bible, the core of the gospel that must not be displaced by particularities, our neighbors in faith who must not be excluded by particularities, and dying to our egos, acknowledging our finitude.

This does not mean denying the power of the traditions we call our own. Hughes goes on to describe appreciatively the contribution of Roman Catholicism, the Reformed Tradition, the Anabaptist Model, and the Lutheran traditions, showing the substantial spiritual and intellectual resources these offer for the life of the mind. Drawing on these ideas, he considers how one may teach from a Christian perspective. I would have liked to hear some discussion of church traditions outside the dominant white culture. He observes that because of the paradoxes within our faith, we are uniquely positioned to foster an atmosphere of comfort with paradox and ambiguity essential to good inquiry. He contends that his work is not to give students “pre-digested answers” but rather to “inspire wonder, to awaken imagination, to stimulate creativity….” It is also to help them explore ultimate questions. Drawing on Paul Tillich, he identifies three:

How do I cope with the inevitability of death?
Am I an acceptable human being?
Is there any meaning in life, and if there is, what is it?

He believes that the values of the upside down kingdom ought shape our choices of what to teach, and how he recognized these values in Howard Zinn’s work, even though Zinn is not a Christian. He addresses the concern about the distinctiveness of his scholarship as a Christian. He contends that the depth of his commitment to Christ cannot help but shape his scholarship, just as Madeleine L’Engle answered a young writer who wanted to become a “Christian writer.” L’Engle told her that if she was a thorough-going Christian, her writing would be Christian.

He follows with a chapter on the vocation of a Christian college. His argument is that Christian colleges ought be shaped by a shared theological vision, all pragmatic considerations aside. He also proposes a theological vision combining Lutheran and Anabaptist perspectives, one both of radical grace and radical discipleship. This is a vision of both radical Christian engagement in society and radical dependence on God. He then ends the book with a postscript of how tragedy can uniquely shape the Christian mind, including a personal narrative of his own near-death encounter.

While this work is grounded in the Christian college setting, I think it is also useful to Christians called to scholarship in the secular setting. The essence of his argument is the importance of a life deeply grounded in a theological tradition and an embrace of paradox. While this may not enjoy institutional support outside the Christian college setting, one may find community with other Christian scholars. I also appreciate the focus on the calling of the scholar rather than “Christian scholarship.” Rather than forced expressions of faith, these are allowed to develop organically as one both deeply cultivates one’s faith, understanding one’s own niche in the great story, and pursues one’s research and teaching. I loved the focus on wonder and ultimate questions, although I’d be curious how he might work out the latter in STEM fields. This is a worthwhile work for any Christian wanting to integrate their scholarly calling into their faith.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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BobonBooks | 1 muu arvostelu | Dec 30, 2021 |
A collection of the author's essays and responses to those essays rooted in the author's previous magnum opus on the history of churches of Christ.

The author frequently reasserts his primary thesis throughout: churches of Christ were formed from the dual emphases of Alexander Campbell's Baconian Common Sense Realism and Barton Stone's apocalyptic theology. Campbell would eventually go Protestant Evangelical, and his model of Biblical exegesis, emphasis on sectarianism, and focus on ecclesiology would dominate in the movement. Stone's apocalypticism would be nurtured by Fanning and Lipscomb but would be devastated in the 20th century. He compares and contrasts the restorationist spirit in churches of Christ with those in Lutheranism, the Reformed, and Anabaptist movements.

As follow-up the author considers churches of Christ at the same type of juncture as before, but now with far fewer members and much more diminished. The author considers this as evidence of the claim. The author's general assessment of the historical situation is accurate: so many in churches of Christ are a bit ashamed of their heritage, and many presume they have no real heritage, and so far too many are heeding the siren song of evangelicalism at the very time when evangelicalism finds itself in cultural and social decline. I also appreciated the author's nuanced understanding of the previous heritage of the churches of Christ relative to Evangelicalism: perhaps looking similar in practice, but not nearly as Constantinian, with the apocalyptic maintaining some level of "healthy" skepticism about the world and even the American project.

In a sad irony, however, the author in his own ways seeks to advance a movement toward Evangelicalism in terms of the roles of women in the assemblies, attempting to make an association between matters of interpretation about women as what happened with slavery. It's lamentable that what the text says is being so flippantly cast off in the name of ancient culture. Noll's thesis is a bit more sound - abolitionists captured the spirit of God's purposes while slaveholders captured the letter of the text more accurately. The conclusion of such issues is never that hey, let's be careful about honoring both what the text says *and* the spirit of what God is seeking to accomplish in Jesus, and try to make it all work. No; one must be upheld against the other.

The author speaks of the "mainstream" churches of Christ, and admits as such, but casts off the "splinter groups" a bit too easily (hi, an "anti" here; we still exist; actually in decent numbers!).

A good follow-up to a good historical analysis, although I would very much like to see someone somewhere do a study of how much of the apocalyptic was cast aside on account of a desire for middle class American respectability, both among the Disciples of Christ and then later among Churches of Christ.

**--galley received as part of early review program
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deusvitae | Aug 23, 2019 |
I see that the newer edition of this book is entitled "The Vocation of the Christian Scholar," and the original title is now the subtitle. That is a more apt description of the book.

The author has collected some of his spoken papers and meditations on working in academia as a Christian and in this work sets forth how his commitment as a Christian informs his pursuit of excellence in academia according to the principles of the academy and the pursuit of truth and meaning.

The core of the premise involves the questions of core meaning which inform all inquiry; the author repeats Tillich's formulations to strong effect. We seek meaning to make sense of our lives and our purpose and our behaviors in light of the boundaries of our mortality, and this also ought to undergird all scholastic enterprises. The author uses very compelling and touching personal examples and examples of scholars he knows to this end, and suggests that even though the subject matter may be different in the classroom, he is still trying to get his students to grapple with these fundamental premises.

He also explores the distinctive emphases of Catholicism, the Reformed, the Anabaptists, and Lutheranism as they relate to academic inquiry: commitment to inquiry of truth and exploration of different ways of thinking; affirmation of the sovereignty of God and understanding all things as under His sovereignty; understanding through doing - faith through action; and constant re-evaluation of one's perspective because of one's corruption and predilections to sin. He explores the strengths and challenges with these perspectives and emphases, and encourages a holistic appreciation of what each brings and how to effectively use it in the classroom or the life of the mind.

But the grounding of all things in the pursuit of the questions of the meaning and value of life in the face of death remains the most compelling contribution of this work, validating the enterprise of inquiry and providing a strong foundation. This is effective not just for the classroom, but also in the exhortation of Christians to robust faith in God in Christ.

Recommended.
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deusvitae | 1 muu arvostelu | Feb 12, 2019 |
An exploration of the Christian nationalist ideology ascendant in the days of the Bush 43 administration, its historical antecedents, and a contrast with the ideology of the Kingdom of God in Scripture as understood through the prism of many modern theologians.

The book's cover jacket picture well encapsulates the picture of "Christian America": the cross and the flag intertwined in a pin on a business jacket. The author is at his best and incisive in his exploration of the Christian nation ideology, its origins in the Constantinian compromise, how it is informed by Reformed conceptions of God's sovereignty and the Puritan goal of theocracy, and its primarily white Protestant impulses toward exclusion. The author spends much time unpacking its influence in the Bush 43 administration and its triumphalist decisions: the myths of innocence and a task to spread the gospel of democracy, etc. He also does well at showing how whereas many of the Founders believed in Christian principles, many were Deist, and all rooted American democracy in a more deistic, Enlightenment concept of nature's God and inalienable rights.

The author's discussion of the Kingdom of God and relevant texts in the Old and New Testaments are more of a mixed bag. He sets forth many important principles of the nature of how God would have His people ruled according to the prophets and does establish the countercultural, upside down values of the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus. Yet he anchors and grounds it in the most liberal of scholarship, quite enraptured by Crossan, and will not allow the Biblical evidence to get in the way of a good theory. As in far too many theologians of this bent, whatever in the New Testament does not align with his particular view of the Kingdom is itself evidence of corruption and is to be discarded as the influence of society and the powers. He would have been able to ground the discussion of the Kingdom just as effectively for his rhetorical purposes without the baggage by a good study of N.T. Wright and many others who do well at showing the challenges with Crossan et al and their presentation.

It is also very interesting to return to this book a decade after its publication, both to revisit the way things appeared and felt in the aughts and to see how much has changed (and how much has not). In the meantime "Christian America" has gone from ascendance to fear; it has abandoned principle in the name of clinging onto some vestige of power. The white supremacist undertones of American "Christian nation" ideology have become more apparent (and the author has revised another one of his works to address the subject), as has the folly of American nation-building as the Iraq and Afghanistan debacle became apparent for what they were. Perhaps no subject is more telling about what has gone on over the past decade than gay marriage: the book was written in the wake of many states banning gay marriage in some way or another, and it was successfully used as a wedge issue against the Democrats in the 2004 election; now almost all religious conservatives have conceded the fight on gay marriage is almost completely lost, the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional right of gay marriage, and the Christian nationalists have been reduced to striving to carve out space to maintain their own viewpoints in their own spheres in church and in the workplace. This would have been utterly unexpected in 2008, let alone 2004, and shows how the whole time the strength of the Christian nationalist enterprise was never very deep.

Not to say, of course, that various theoretically "Christian" forms of influence are not pervasive in the political arena, or will somehow cease to be in the near future, and generally not in alignment with the Kingdom of God as the author well established.

There are better works out there on the same theme. Go there instead.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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deusvitae | 1 muu arvostelu | Feb 12, 2019 |

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