Apr. 25, 2011
Three Candler School of Theology professors have been honored this spring with highly coveted awards totaling more than $200,000: Steven M. Tipton received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, and a grant from the Religion Division of the Lilly Endowment; Andrea C. White was chosen for a Lilly Theological Research Faculty Fellowship, a Louisville Institute First Book Grant, and a Wabash Summer Research Fellowship; and L. Edward Phillips collected a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers.
“It’s a great honor in theological education circles to receive these grants, and I’m grateful to organizations for recognizing these outstanding scholars,” said Jan Love, Candler’s dean and professor of Christianity and World Politics.
Tipton, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Sociology of Religion and a senior fellow in Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, received the awards for his work, The Life to Come: Re-Creating Retirement, a moral and social inquiry into the practical religious meaning of retirement among Americans born in the postwar baby boom. It explores their emerging ethos of retirement with a feel for its saving promise of true self-renewal and graceful fulfillment in the life to come in this world, and it charts the institutional pathways and congregational salience of retirement so imagined and pursued.
“The dream of a secure and comfortable retirement came true for more and more Americans after World War II. Now the dream is receding. Americans working today face more insecurity in retirement than their parents did, the first such reversal in modern U.S. history,” he writes.
Tipton is one of two Guggenheim Fellows named in the field of religious studies among 180 scholars, artists, and scientists chosen from nearly 3,000 applicants for the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation’s 87th annual competition. He and Phillips are two of 10 scholars to receive the Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Research in 2011, which is awarded annually to “advance religious and theological scholarship in ways that also address practical issues concerning Christian faith and practice, pastoral leadership, and/or religious institutions.” Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Seminary.
White, assistant professor of theology and culture, was offered the Lilly Fellowship and the Louisville Institute grant for her 2011-2012 sabbatical book project, Black Women’s Bodies and God Politics: A Womanist Theological Anthropology. The project uses black women’s narratives to debunk negative cultural myths of black womanhood. White writes, “Persistent cultural images of black female bodies as icons of deviant sexuality not only engender violence against black women but also diminish human society and churches. Narratives inform us as participants in church and society, and they recast the theological understanding of who humans are and of God’s self-disclosure to humanity.”
White’s Wabash Center Summer 2011 Fellowship is for her project, “I am as I am in Relation: Karl Barth’s Theological Anthropology,” in which she “hopes to justify the relevance of Barth’s theology of otherness in postmodern religious thought.”
“The perception of Barth as antagonistic to human freedom is due to a misunderstanding of freedom as an anthropological feature rather than a theological gift. These and other misreadings of Barth often accompany preconceived notions of Barth as a so-called ‘neo-orthodox’ theologian and he is therefore written off as irrelevant for contemporary theological concerns,” she writes.
Phillips, associate professor of worship and liturgical theology, was awarded the Louisville Institute grant for his research and forthcoming book, Christ and Mammon: A Liturgical History, which explores the relationship of “money,” “offering,” and “sacrifice” in Christian liturgical practice in the United States.
“The money offering is, arguably, the most solemnly ritualized action in contemporary Protestant worship. Even in congregations that are not conventionally ‘liturgical,’ the money offering typically entails a procession of ushers, music, singing, prayer, elevated gestures by ministers, with collection plates presented at an altar or table,” writes Phillips. “Yet, an explicit connection of the collection of money and the liturgical concept of ‘offering’ did not develop in Protestant churches of North America until the late 19th century.”
Phillips is researching liturgical books, denominational publications, popular pastoral writing, church bulletins, and various aspects of material culture, such as architecture, altar tables, and offering plates, to determine how the practice of “offering” evolved.