In our line of work, who isn’t looking for more publishing opportunities? One of the themes we’ve discussed for years in the Oikonomia Network is the need to cultivate more theological scholarship on whole-life discipleship, fruitful work, economic wisdom and human flourishing, alongside our continuing commitment to curriculum and pedagogy. Well, today we’re announcing our intention to create a new peer-reviewed academic journal over the course of the coming two years. A journal dedicated to theological scholarship on our core concerns would not only contribute to the advance of knowledge, it would provide much-needed support to theological faculty who invest their research effort in this area.
Get in on the ground floor of this publishing initiative by joining us at Karam Forum 2021 on January 5. The event is free and there’s no pre-registration. Just surf on over to the Karam Forum website at 10am central/11am eastern/8am Pacific to join us!
Our “scholarly R&D lab” session during Karam Forum will provide wide-ranging opportunities to generate ideas for future papers. Our plan is to build on the discussions at Karam Forum 2021 by inviting original papers to be delivered at the next meeting of Karam Forum. These papers would then naturally provide a pool for submissions to a new journal.
Please let us know today which breakout session you plan to attend at Karam Forum, so we can send you the appropriate paper for discussion! The list of papers we’ll be discussing in the breakout sessions is below; let us know which one you’re interested in and we’ll send you a copy so you can be prepared to discuss it in your group. (Those attending the special breakout session for members of the Kairos Network will not have an advance paper to read.)
- Systematic Theology: Brent Waters, “Animated Soil: Flourishing as Creatures.” Discussion facilitated by Brent Waters.
- Theological Ethics: Darrell Bock, “Stewardship Is Fundamental: Creation, Marriage and Money.” Discussion facilitated by Darrell Bock.
- Biblical Studies: J. Michael Thigpen, “Flourishing, Justice and the Gospel as ‘Subduing’ the Earth.” Discussion facilitated by David Baker.
- Biblical Theology: Greg Forster, “Nations in the Metanarrative of Redemption: A Gospel for Public Life.” Discussion facilitated by Greg Forster.
- History: Kimlyn Bender, “Capitalism, Socialism and Karl Barth’s Pragmatism: Lessons from a Disillusioned Socialist for Christian Economic Engagement.” Discussion facilitated by Nathan Hitchcock.
Our community heard about this need most recently from Richard Mouw, when he struck this note resoundingly in his keynote address at the last Karam Forum meeting. “We take our direction on what to tech in seminaries from the academic guilds,” Mouw pointed out. Ultimately, our movement to reform theological education can neither accomplish its goals nor sustain itself over generations if it does not produce structures for new approaches in scholarship. In this, Mouw was only echoing a concern we’ve heard from many speakers (see the extensive links in our story from last month’s newsletter!).
This new initiative grows not only from past conversations, but from past initiatives. The day before Karam Forum 2019 met in Dallas, the Oikonomia Network gathered three scholarly colloquia to discuss papers on human flourishing in theology, biblical studies and Christian history. Papers from those colloquia formed the basis of Human Flourishing, published this summer by Wipf & Stock.
As you may already know, three of the five papers available for breakout discussions at Karam Forum 2021 on January 5 are drawn from that volume. For a taste, see the excerpts we’ve run in recent newsletters: Michael Thigpen on “subduing” and flourishing, Kimlyn Bender on Karl Barth’s capitalism/socialism dilemma, and – published this month – Greg Forster on “nations” in the gospel metanarrative. Our other two papers for Karam Forum 2021 are adapted from presentations made at this year’s Evangelical Theological Society by Darrell Bock and Brent Waters. If you drop us a line, we’ll share the full paper you select.
After all this, creating a new journal seems like a natural next step. We’re realistic about the effort involved in such an undertaking. But that just means the sooner we get started, the better!
So don’t miss out on this opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Mark your calendars for Jan. 5 and let us know which paper you’re interested in receiving ahead of the meeting! We look forward to seeing you there.