I am pleased to announce that I have two new pieces that will be coming out in academic journals this spring. “‘A God Clothed in Our Form’: Intensifying the Iconoclasm of William Ellery Channing,” which was originally written for the 2019 Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Studies in Baltimore, MD, is going to be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Unitarian Universalist History. “Piety and Theocentric Naturalism,” which was originally written for a meeting of the Open and Relational Theologies group at the American Academy of Religion’s Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, is going to be in the Spring 2020 issue of the Toronto Journal of Theology. I am thrilled for the opportunity for these essays to be read by a wider audience, and for the feedback from the blind reviewers who helped me clarify and nuance my arguments. Exact release dates for these publications are still up in the air, but the JUUH piece should be coming out very soon.
“A God Clothed in Our Form” examines the role that iconoclasm (the resistance against the human propensity towards idolatry) plays in the thought of 19th century Unitarian minister and theologian William Ellery Channing, particularly in his critique of the doctrine of the trinity and the incarnation of Jesus. The piece argues that this trajectory in Channing’s thought can be a valuable resource for contemporary Unitarian Universalist theology, through an intensification of Channing’s iconoclasm, as leverage against religious exclusivism, anthropomorphic conceptions of God, and against the various false idols in our social world that try to claim our ultimate loyalty. In addition to Channing, the essay draws heavily on the work of F. LeRon Shults, H. Richard Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, and Wesley Wildman.
“Piety and Theocentric Naturalism” attempts to synthesize a particular theological interpretation of religious naturalism through a discussion of James Gustafson’s writings on theocentric piety. It attempts to marry together theological influences from the Reformed tradition of Christian theology, with the non-reductive naturalisms developed in the American pragmatist and process traditions of theology. In doing so it attempts to present a religious worldview that rejects the existence of supernatural beings, yet preserves the radically monotheistic distinction between creator and creation. It also examines the fruits of this form of religious piety, including the the proper relativizing of our commitments, its orientation to the natural world, and the cultivation of religious courage. In addition to Gustafson, the essay engages the work of Alfred North Whitehead, Bernard Loomer, Robert Cummings Neville, and Wesley Wildman.
A lot of work has gone into these pieces, and I’ve been thrilled by the reception they have received.
Thank you all for your continued reading, and your interest in my scholarship!