Oklahoma Christian University had a strong presence at the 35th Christian Scholars’ Conference last week with participants in multiple sessions. The annual event was held at Abilene Christian University this year and featured keynote speakers such as authors and professors Phillip Jenkins and Randall Balmer, poet Christian Wiman and public broadcasting host and author Tavis Smiley.
During the conference, more than 100 professors, graduate students and professionals presented peer-reviewed and generative sessions to advance Christian scholarship, collaboration and engaged dialogue.
This year’s conference theme was "One World."
Gary Jones, OC’s multicultural and service learning coordinator, served as a panelist for the Civil Rights session titled “Selma: Cinematic Past and Social Present Tense.”
Jeff McCormack, OC's dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, was a panelist for the “High Impact Practices in the Sciences” session. OC alumnus Henry Shin presented during the session with a paper titled “Cell Culture Techniques to Fight Blindness: Finding Molecular Mechanism(s) of a Mutant Protein Affecting Vision in Humans.”
OC alumnus Stanley Helton presented during the “American Religious History” session. His paper was titled “Can We Divide? Jesse B. Ferguson: Alone, Neglected, but not Forgotten.” Helton also presented again on the topic of “The Gods of Slavery: The Theologizing of Solomon Northrup.”
Chara Watson, adjunct instructor of communication at OC, presented in the “Creative Writing” session. Her paper was titled “An Exploration of Binding False Narratives and Their Effects on Compassion and Spirituality.”
OC Professor of New Testament John Harrison convened the New Testament session titled “A Consideration of Shelly Matthews’ Perfect Martyr: The Stoning of Stephen and the Construction of Christian Identity.” During that session, OC alumnus Trevor Thompson served as a respondent.
Scott LaMascus, OC’s vice president of academic affairs, served as a reviewer for the first Old Testament session that addressed professor Glenn Pemberton’s new book. Charles Rix, OC’s interim dean of the College of Biblical Studies, was a reviewer for the second session. Rix also presented a paper titled “Trauma and ‘Narrative Wreckage’ in the Story of Hagar.”
OC President John deSteiguer served as a panelist with other Christian college presidents on the session titled “Re-envisioning Christian Higher Education for the Next Century.” Similarly, OC alumnus Andy Benton presented a white paper in the session titled “Charting a Course for the Future of Christian Higher Education: A Three-Year Conversation for Governing Boards.”
Gary Lindsey, professor of history at OC, presented a paper titled “East to West: Christian Missionaries in the Twin Territories.”
Associate Professor of Communication Josh Watson presented in the "Global Business Practices" session. His presentation was titled “A Case Study of CVS Health’s Social Responsibility About-Face.”
OC alumnus Darrly Tippens was a convener for the session titled “Christian Wiman’s ‘My Bright Abyss’: Reflections on One Writer’s Spiritual Journey.”
In addition, Chip Kooi, professor of Bible at OC, presented in the “Bible, Justice and Law II” session. His paper was titled “Gospel as Justice as Gospel: A Christian Grammar of Justice.”
Finally, OC Honors instructor Christopher Shrock presented during the “Faith, Reason and Conflict: American History” session. His paper was titled “Culpability and Conscience: A Philosophical Look at an Early Restoration Theme.”
The Christian Scholars’ Conference was created in 1981 under the direction of Dr. Thomas H. Olbricht, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Pepperdine University, and has since been hosted by several universities associated with churches of Christ. The conference calls together scholars from a wide variety of disciplines in the liberal arts, sciences, business, law, education and medicine to develop their own academic research and to reflect on the integration of scholarship and faith.