Featured presenters underwritten by conference sponsors
For a full list of presenters, including those who responded to the Call for Presentations, please download the descriptions and presenter bios for the breakout sessions.
Kester Brewin teaches mathematics in South East London and is also a freelance writer, poet and consultant for BBC education. He writes regularly on education and technology for the national educational press, and has published a number of highly acclaimed books of theology. His latest, Mutiny! Why We Love Pirates and How They Can Save Us, begins with a groundbreaking re-examination of the culture of piracy, seeking to understand our continued fascination with all things pirate, and ends up exploring a theology of the commons with a devastating new reading of the prodigal son story as a tragedy. His poetry has appeared in magazines worldwide and, along with a new short theological work on magic and superheroes, he is currently preparing his debut novel for publication. His previous books include Other: Loving Self, God and Neighbour in a World of Fractures and Signs of Emergence (published in the UK as The Complex Christ).
John D. Caputo, Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Humanities Emeritus at Syracuse University, is a hybrid philosopher/theologian intent on producing thoughts which circulate between philosophy and theology, short-circuits which deny fixed and rigorous boundaries between philosophy and theology. Caputo treats “sacred” texts as a poetics of the human condition, or as a “theo-poetics,” a poetics of the event harbored in the name of God. His past books have attempted to persuade us that hermeneutics goes all the way down (Radical Hermeneutics), that Derrida is a thinker to be reckoned with by theology (The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida), and that theology is best served by getting over its love affair with power and authority and embracing what Caputo calls, following St. Paul, The Weakness of God. He has also addressed wider-than-academic audiences in On Religion and What Would Jesus Deconstruct? and has an interest in interacting with the working church groups like Ikon and the Emergent Church. His highly-anticipated forthcoming book is entitled The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps.
Christena Cleveland is a social psychologist with a hopeful passion for overcoming cultural divisions in groups. Drawing from a vast body of research, she uncovers the underlying processes that affect relationships within and between groups and helps leaders understand how to promote an appreciation for diversity and build effective collaborations with diverse groups.
Christena earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. from the University of California. An award-winning researcher and gifted teacher, she has published numerous scholarly articles and held academic appointments at the University of California, Westmont College, St. Catherine University and Bethel Seminary. In addition to academic experience, Christena brings organizational experience to her efforts to build unity. She consults with pastors and organizational leaders on multicultural issues and speaks regularly at organizations, churches, conferences, universities and schools. Her Saturday presentation at Subverting the Norm is underwritten by the Greater Springfield Center for Diversity and Reconciliation and is free and open to the public.
Clayton Crockett is the Associate Professor and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Central Arkansas. He is the author of a number of books, including Radical Political Theology; Deleuze Beyond Badiou; and (with Jeffrey W. Robbins) Religion, Politics and the Earth: The New Materialism.
Camielle Famous, MS, PLCP, is a Mental Health Counselor and adjunct faculty at Drury University. She earned her B.S. in Psychology as well as M.S. in Counseling from Missouri State University, where she student co-taught Leadership Development in Diversity in addition to serving as a graduate assistant in the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance. As a team leader of the Brentwood Christian Church Anti-Racism Pro-Reconciliation Team, she works to raise awareness of diversity topics through community events and workshops. Camielle also serves on the founding committee of the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation (CDR). She has participated in and facilitated numerous diversity training seminars including Facing Racism through the Springfield, MO Chamber of Commerce.
Tripp Fuller is married to an awesome lady Alecia and has a handsome young stud named Elgin Thomas (aka E.T.) and 2 little white fluffy dogs (Pebbles & Dino). He and Alecia are both graduates of Campbell University (where they met), the Divinity School of Wake Forest University and ordained ministers. He is working on his PhD in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. A few other things he digs are books, cigars, pipes, Shaq, guitar, pirates, fishing, the Counting Crows, and good conversations about Religion and Politics. He is perhaps best known as the host of the Homebrewed Christianity podcast, which is the most time consuming hobby he has ever had besides reading and blogging through Wolfhart Pannenberg’s 3 volume systematic theology.
Teresa Hornsby is an Associate Professor of Religion at Drury University. Dr. Hornsby earned an undergraduate degree in religious studies at the University of Tennessee and a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School.
After a semester in Greece and Turkey, she settled in Nashville, where she received a doctoral degree in New Testament at Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation is titled, “The Gendered Sinner.” She has published articles, essays, and reviews in numerous biblical journals and books; she presents her scholarship at regional and national meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and serves on the committee for the “Women in the Biblical World” section. Her research interests presently are postmodern biblical criticisms and the issue of abortion and pastoral counseling. She is the author of (with Amy Jill-Levine) Sex Texts from the Bible: Selections Annotated & Explained.
Namsoon Kang is Professor of World Christianity and Religions at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. Her forthcoming book is entitled Cosmopolitan Theology: Reconstituting Planetary Hospitality, Neighbor-Love, and Solidarity in an Uneven World (Chalice Press, 2013). In this book, she proposes that cosmopolitan theology crosses borders of gender, race, nationality, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and ability. Kang offers a vision of a global community of radical inclusion, solidarity, and deep compassion and justice for others. Blending theology with philosophy, she crosses borders of academism and activism, and the discursive borders of modernism, postmodernism, feminism, and postcolonialism. Cosmopolitan Theology sheds a new light both in academia and the community of Christian believers by providing a public relevance of Jesus’ teaching of neighbor-love, hospitality, and solidarity in our world today.
Before she joined Brite in 2006, she taught on the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, UK, and Methodist Theological University, Korea. She has been actively involved in various international ecumenical organizations and movements, and was a plenary speaker at the WCC 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2006. She studied in Korea, Germany, and the United States, earning her Ph.D. from Drew University. She is currently the president of WOCATI (World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions). Writing in both Korean and English, her most recent publications include The Handbook of Theological Education in World Christianity (Co-edited), “Constructing Postcolonial Mission in World Christianity,” “Out of Places: Asian Feminist Theology of Dislocation,” and “Towards a Cosmopolitan Theology: Constructing Public Theology from the Future.”
Katharine Sarah Moody (PhD Religious Studies, Lancaster University, UK, 2010) is a Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Liverpool, where she is developing a new research network, “Philosophy and Religious Practices.” Her own research examines the relationship between continental philosophy, radical theology and lived religion, and in particular between emerging Christianity and the work of John D. Caputo, Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou and Simon Critchley. Her books include Post-Secular Theology and the Church: A New Kind of Christian is A New Kind of Atheist (Wipf & Stock, forthcoming 2014), Radical Theology and Emerging Christianity: Deconstruction, Materialism and Religious Practice (Ashgate, forthcoming 2014), and Intensities: Philosophy, Religion and the Affirmation of Life (Ashgate, 2012; co-edited with Steven Shakespeare).
Katharine is currently seeking funding for a research project that explores the relationships between contemporary philosophical interpretations of Saint Paul’s Letters that argue for the suspension of identity politics in favour of a generic humanity or universal humanism; feminist philosophy of religion and approaches to the study of Paul, which have traditionally utilised identity politics and standpoint epistemologies in both scholarship and activism; and the emerging church practice of “suspended space” (Peter Rollins).
Micki Pulleyking is a teacher and a preacher; she calls the classroom her “sanctuary” and church the “grace of her life” (in spite of the reality that the church she grew up in would not allow her to preach because she’s not male). She is a Senior Instructor at Missouri State University where she has taught thousands of students since joining the Religious Studies department faculty in 1993. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Micki earned graduate degrees in New Testament Studies from Harvard (MDiv) and in Philosophy of Religion from Boston University (PhD). She also received a premier degree from the University of Strasbourg, France. She was awarded the Rotary International Fellowship and traveled the world for more than a year. She has mourned the deaths of her child, mom, dad, and her God idea. Micki’s dissertation discusses the impact of death on life–on religious world views. Her favorite title is mom; she and her husband have two teenagers. She loves life–where in the impossible we find our hope.
Jeffrey W. Robbins is Professor and Chair of Religion and Philosophy at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. His work belongs to the lineage of American radical theology out of which he has sought to develop a new form of political theology for a post-secular age. He is the author and editor of several books in philosophical theology including Between Faith and Thought: An Essay on the Ontotheological Condition (2003), In Search of a Non-Dogmatic Theology (2004), and Radical Democracy and Political Theology (2011). Most recently he has collaborated with Clayton Crockett in a short, manifesto-styled book entitled Religion, Politics and the Earth: The New Materialism (2012).
Peter Rollins is a widely sought after writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker. He is also the founder of ikon, a faith group that has gained an international reputation for blending live music, visual imagery, soundscapes, theatre, ritual and reflection to create what they call ‘transformance art’. His most recent book is The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction.
Peter gained his higher education from Queens University, Belfast and has earned degrees (with distinction) in Scholastic Philosophy (BA Hons), Political Theory (MA) and Post-Structural thought (PhD). He is currently a research associate with the Irish School of Ecumenics in Trinity College, Dublin and is the author of the much talked about How (Not) to Speak of God. His other books include The Orthodox Heretic and Insurrection: To Believe is Human, To Doubt Divine. He was born in Belfast but currently resides in Greenwich, CT.
Melinda McGarrah Sharp is an Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and Ethics at Phillips Theological Seminary, where she focuses her teaching and research in the areas of pastoral theology and ethics. With a firm belief that both self-awareness and intercultural awareness are vital for ministry, she is especially interested in bringing resources from the interdisciplinary field of postcolonial studies into conversation with theological study and formation. Through her teaching, she hopes to help students develop ways of caring for the variety of needs within increasingly diverse congregations, hospitals, and other ministry contexts. Her new book is entitled Misunderstanding Stories: Toward a Postcolonial Pastoral Theology.
In addition to the introductory courses in pastoral care and ethics, she also challenges students to think about how questions of diversity impact specific areas of care with persons, families, and congregations. She was influenced to think more critically about culture with her experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Suriname, South America. She is also trained as a hospital clinical ethics consultant.
Dr. Sharp earned degrees from the University of Virginia (B.A.), Yale University Divinity School (M.A.R.), and Vanderbilt University (M.A. & Ph.D.). She is currently working on several projects in the area of intercultural pastoral theology. Her chapter, “Are There Limitations to Multicultural Inclusion? Difficult Questions for Feminist Pastoral Theology,” co-authored with Dr. Bonnie Miller-McLemore, appears in the celebrated fourth edited volume focusing on women and pastoral theology and care, Women Out of Order: Risking Change and Creating Care in a Multicultural World (Ed. Moessner and Snorton, Augsburg Fortress Press, 2010). She has also published the study guide for In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice (Bonnie Miller-McLemore, 2007), through the Practicing our Faith website: http://www.practicingourfaith.org, 2006. Her recent academic paper given at the Society of Pastoral Theology in June 2010 is entitled “Intercultural Empathy? Examining Pastoral Theology’s Guiding Metaphors in Light of Complex Intercultural Realities.” She was also one of five invited speakers at the Society’s Annual Meeting representing five generations of scholars in the Society of Pastoral Theology.
Dr. Sharp is an active lay member in the United Methodist Church.
Erinn Staley is a doctoral candidate in Religious Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She holds an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and a B.A. from Rhodes College. Erinn’s current project explores theological anthropology and ecclesiology in light of intellectual disability. Her work on theology and disability appears in the journal Modern Theology and a volume titled Sensational Religion (forthcoming, Yale University Press).
Barry Taylor is a professor of Culture & Religion at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Associate Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills. His books include Entertainment Theology and Don’t Stop Believin': Pop-Culture & Religion from Ben-Hur to Zombies.