Welcome to the new Candler Connection, the magazine for alumni and friends of Candler School of Theology. We’re back after a three-year hiatus and we’re eager to share the new look and feel with you.
Why are we bringing Connection back? Why should you add one more thing to your reading list? The simple answer is that we believe this magazine can foster community among the 7,500 Candler alumni around the world. We’re proud of your accomplishments, and we’re proud of the vibrant place that is Candler School of Theology. We want to share your accomplishments and keep you up-to-date on ours.
The slightly more complicated answer of why we’re asking you to read Connection gets to the question of why we read anything, be it a book, a magazine article, or a greeting card. It’s a question Carol Newsom takes up in our cover story about reading as spiritual practice, about the magic that happens when you find the right book at the right time.
I have a long list of books that have created that kind of magic in my life. I remember my days as a student traveling solo for three months through Africa, and how a classic novel I found on a hostel bookshelf relieved a particularly intense bout of loneliness and opened me up to the opportunities that lay ahead. I think of my husband reading Cold Mountain aloud to our family on a road trip, and how we pulled the car over a mile shy of our destination so we could finish the last few gripping pages; we were so connected by the story that we shared a collective embrace as we wept over the ending. I recall giving Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies to a colleague at the University of South Carolina who was having trouble reconciling a strong pull toward Christianity with her academic training. I believe the book helped reveal God’s grace and love anew and readied her to face the challenge of living into the mysteries of faith.
Reading can be both comforting and challenging. We hope that Connection will be a little bit of both—a comfort as it connects you with your classmates and with what is happening at Candler now, and a challenge as it reminds you that transformation within ourselves, our churches, our communities, and our world requires growth and change. May one of the articles in this issue or a future issue be the right thing for you at the right time.
Grace and peace,
Dean and Professor of Christianity and World Politics
Dean Love is currently reading Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times by Eyal Press.