This is a list of a number of presentations, lectures, and ongoing series that I have delivered in
undergraduate courses, university chapel gatherings at Oklahoma Christian University, and in churches. 

trauma, human suffering, and free will: the christian tradition, contemporary learning, and current theological reflection

Presented in Seeker's Chapel at Oklahoma Christian University, Fall 2014

This presentation sought to articulate the ways in which overly simplistic constructions of trauma, human suffering, and free will (or what I describe as moral agency) can fail not only to make sense of our lived experience but also flounder theologically. This presentation included a very brief exploration of a number of the psychological and physiological consequences of trauma and human suffering as well as a short overview of the emerging science behind epigenetic changes that are individually transformative and generationally transmissible due to trauma and human suffering. This inevitably leads to complex questions about moral agency and the theological constructions that are affected from any change in our articulation of our theological anthropology. This presentation concluded that we must respond by offering more nuanced accounts of moral agency, a more robust articulation of sin, and the ecclesial and liturgical implications of recognizing such capacities for the distortion and subsequent redemption of human persons. 

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the beautiful heresy: rediscovering the early church's view of heaven

Presented in Beam Chapel at Oklahoma Christian University, Spring 2016

This presentation was a part of the semester's theme of exploring questions about heaven in the Christian tradition and in popular culture. I offered a short review of the traditional Calvinist/Arminian split about heaven and then offered an introductory exploration to a doctrine that has had a number of names in the Tradition: Apokatastasis, Universal Reconciliation, Christian Universalism, and The Beautiful Heresy. This lecture provided an introduction to the extensive list of early writers and theologians who affirmed this doctrine in the early centuries of the church, followed by six theological affirmations that reinforce such a position. Finally, I offered a "fresh" reading of certain biblical texts in which participants listened as if universal reconciliation was at least within the realm of interpretive possibility. This presentation concluded with an open Q&A session to students, faculty, and staff who were present. 

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trauma as hell: suffering and the eschatological destiny/fate of humanity

Presented in Beam Chapel at Oklahoma Christian University, Spring 2015

For most Christians today the primary mechanics of eschatological reflection are that all human persons have free will and that there will be a universal eschatological judgment in which the majority of humanity will be sent to hell for all of eternity. This presentation explored the question: What about those for whom their life on earth has been a literal hell ? By looking at two examples, the child executioner of ISIS and a BBC report about one family who have lost their husband/father and two children to the conditions in Gaza we ask the question: What will God do for those eschatologically who live (and often times die!) in hell on earth? Finally I ask this question: How do we reconcile the God of love that we see most clearly in Jesus with the portrait of God in which God is depicted as the final, ultimate, eschatological, and eternal traumatizer? I proposed that our answer is found in the final words of Jesus on the cross: "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."  

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power by force or solidarity by proximity: nbc's hit show heroes and the immutability and impassability of god

Presented in Beam Chapel at Oklahoma Christian University, Fall 2015

This presentation was a part of the semester's theme of exploring the intersection of science fiction and Christian reflection. By contrasting the primary hero, Peter Petrelli, and super-villain, Sylar, of the hit NBC series Heroes I offered two visions of what it meant to have someone human capacity to be expanded by the "other." For Sylar this was done by the complete annihilation of the "other" while for Peter Petrelli this was done merely by proximity. Sylar was not only immune to the suffering of the other, but was the conscious and malevolent cause of pain and death. Peter was deeply moved by the suffering of others and was in this way (not just in his acquisition of abilities) an "expanding" person. After a brief treatment of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE about the impassability of God, we asked the question: Does God suffer (and therefore change)? This presentation sought to answer this question with a brief meditation on two of the final saying of Jesus in his crucifixion: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" and "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." 

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incarceration and race: understanding the systemic racism of mass incarceration

Presented in Seeker's Chapel at Oklahoma Christian University, Fall 2014

A two-part presentation laying out the systemic racial disparities involved in mass incarceration nationally and with particular interest in the demographic dissonance within Oklahoma. The first presentation looked at the racial, economic, and non-violent crime disparities involved in the prison industrial complex, drawing particularly on Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The second presentation involved some theological reflection about how Christians should think about restorative justice, racism, and the tensions that come when economic gain and the criminal justice system become inseparably connected. 

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Partner and prophetic witness: church and state in an increasingly post-christian america

3-hour lecture presented in a Senior Capstone course for Dr. Chip Kooi at Oklahoma Christian University, Spring 2016. 

How should the church think about its relationship to the state, especially as it pertains to social issues that are of particular importance to followers of Jesus? What about those who suggest that the church has allowed the government to do its job? Is this true? Is it possible for the church to handle those things without the state? This lecture explored the history of the official engagement of religious communities with federal governmental programs and funding in addition to the legal and ethical challenges that partnerships between religious communities and governments can (and do) create. Utilizing the 2015 Child Welfare League of America's report on the status of children in the state of Oklahoma, students were led in a group exercise to determine if any of these social issues could be solved exclusively by Christian communities within the state of Oklahoma. This lecture concluded with my proposal that the relationship of Christian communities to the state (whether local, state, or national) should be one of partnership and prophetic witness. 

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