Damian Costello PhD
In this heartfelt interview, Dr. Costello takes us through his work on Nicholas Black Elk and Lakota Catholicism, using it as an intellectual wellspring from which to describe his own unique take on faith and culture. We typically think of culture as something separate from faith and spirituality - something to be infused with our separate spirituality. But what if, in fact, our culture, our material setting, our natural world and community of birth, is in fact already a manifestation of our faith, is already a spirituality, in and of itself? This is a major distinction that marks Lakota and other indigenous American understandings of faith and culture as different from a predominantly European or traditional Western understanding. There's a great lesson to be had there, says Dr. Costello, especially for Christians in their understanding of what exactly culture is, and how it ought to be understood.
Samuel N. Dorf PhD
In this moving and illuminating interview, our very own Dr. Samuel Dorf of the University of Dayton asks the tough question: when we think we have an answer to the question of what culture is, in what way has that answer been shaped for us by outside forces? Is culture really what 'most people' assume it to be? Or ought its definition to include especially those aspects of life that are not often considered to be part of 'culture'? Reflecting on his work in musicology, his and his family's Jewish faith, and the importance of combatting injustice in the Jewish tradition, Dr. Dorf weaves for us an intricate portrait, a symphony, if you will, of faith and culture lived out and experienced from generation to generation.
Kim R. Harris PhD
In this moving and thoughtful interview, Dr. Kim Harris tells us about the beauty of Black Catholic and African American faith and culture, expressed from the days of the spirituals of the Underground Railroad all the way to the present day. She illuminates her understanding of faith as relationship with the Divine or anything larger than oneself, theology as God-talk about that relationship, and beliefs as the gathering of people with similar experiences of that relationship. Culture represents the response to that faith, to that relationship experience, passed on in many forms down the generations. In this way culture and the faith it derives from form the 'water' within which the living heart of Black Catholicism and Christianity beats.
James L. Heft Ph.D.
In this inspiring conversation, Fr. Jim Heft, SM, a beloved former UD professor/administrator and now Alton M. Brooks Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California and Founder & President Emeritus of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies (IACS) at USC, discusses his birds' eye view of the dynamic interrelations between faith and culture, especially as they have played out in the culturally vibrant setting of USC. Whereas 'religion and culture' may seem to be a more appropriate discussion in an ecumenical context, Fr. Heft insists that we avoid vague generalities and define terms: "faith and culture." Touching on everything from interreligious dialogue to the ecological crisis to the inculturation of faith, Fr. Heft presents us with a view of the academy study of theology, of real, lived-out faith, and of the encounter of cultures that is rich, principled, and entirely human, on the ground, and authentic. At the heart of this view lie the principles of encounter, heavily emphasized by Pope Francis as a necessity for evangelization, and of friendship, which is the greatest sure-fire way to open a door in interreligious and ecumenical dialogue.
Suki Kwon MFA
In this inspiring conversation, Professor Suki Kwon of UD guides us through a beautiful, personal portrait of her understanding of faith and culture, and how her work in art and design relate to that personal journey. Speaking on a trying existential crisis of faith in her early years that led her to tears in front of a rather simple painting in a European art gallery, Professor Kwon talks about the challenges she has faced in reconciling her Christian faith with certain aspects of her East Asian and Korean cultural context. She has worked to bring about that reconciliation in her artistic work, with the use of the wabi-sabi aesthetic. In her work, Prof. Kwon combines the egalitarian nature of the Gospel and her faith with her cultural idiom, and this finds a perfect home in the intentional imperfectionism and ruggedness of wabi-sabi. This conversation illuminates just how personal the faith journey is, and the many complexities of navigating such a journey in connection with one's culture, which may present many challenges, but also many opportunities, to that faith.
Dr. William L. Portier: This Thing Called 'America,' A Great Cloud of Witnesses, and Points of Contact
William L. Portier Ph.D.
Dr. Bill Portier discusses his take on what exactly America means, the state of our modern secularized and consumer culture, and how these ultimately relate to the real meaning of faith, and of a life story lived out in faith. Reflecting on his own illustrious and storied career as a Catholic historical theologian, Dr. Portier offers us a hopeful vision of what faith, culture, and a culture principled by faith ought to look like, and how we can already see glimpses of it in the hic et nunt, the here and now.
Andrew L. Prevot PhD
In this profound reflection, Dr. Prevot discusses his unique and comprehensive understanding of faith as fidelity and trust in all our relationships, from our relationship with God to our relationships with family, friends, and all our neighbors. He describes the ever-faithfulness of God to us and how that gives him great hope. Furthermore, Dr. Prevot explores the meaning of culture, culture as cultivation of the many gifts God has given us in the natural world and in creation, culture as a human activity by which we contribute to the beauty and goodness of this created world by bringing forth that beauty which is already there in the world around us. In doing so, we give glory, honor, and praise to our Creator.
An excerpt from Dr. Prevot: "We'll never be in right relationship with God unless we've learned to be truthful and honest in our own relationships."
Julio A. Quintero Ph.D.
In this wonderful and heart-warming interview, our own Dr. Julio A. Quintero guides us through a very special practice celebrated by his father and which his father has passed down to him: bestowing the Sign of the Cross in blessing on one's child. Dr. Quintero uses this as a key example of a sort of faith that is beyond rational categorization, beyond meticulous scientific proofs. He discusses the Enlightenment, its effects upon faith, and the different ways in which different cultures outside the United States understand the very word "culture."
Wayne Romo MA
In this inspiring and moving interview, Wayne Romo, a longtime university minister, describes his dynamic understanding of faith and culture, especially from the perspective of his faith as a child and his family upbringing in both the Hispanic and German cultures. Walking through everything from his family's musical endeavors as a child, santos and home altars, the question of thinking about becoming priest, blessings, and the faith of today's young people, we are brought to an understanding of faith and culture that is at once historically and socially situated, deeply familial, storied, and adaptive to new conditions in society and among young people.
Tiffany Taylor Smith M.S.Ed.
In this heartfelt interview, our very own Tiffany Taylor Smith, Assistant Vice President in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion here at UD, takes us through her rich understanding of faith and culture, specifically through the lens of her own work working for racial justice and reconciliation. Highlighting her great hope in the ability of young people today to strive for and initiate change, Tiffany walks us through a broad understanding of faith and of culture, where culture can have a distinct flavor even within a single family, and where faith is an openness towards the radical truth that there is a universe outside of ourselves and that, much as we might like to think otherwise, we are not in control of everything. There is a God who sees, directs, and saves, and He can often inspire us to work for the very kind of racial justice that Tiffany works towards each day.
Present and Not Present, Seen and Unseen, the Memory of a Space: Dr. R. Darden Bradshaw on Faith and Culture
R. Darden Bradshaw PhD
In this illuminating discussion, our very own Dr. R. Darden Bradshaw of UD takes us through her unique understanding of faith and culture from the perspective of her expertise in art and design. What does it mean for a space and its material culture to hold and create memory? How is culture manifested visually - through life, worship/liturgy, work and family life - in such a way that "the visual becomes a living, breathing expression of faith"? What does it mean to trust and take certainty in the reality of that interior "nudge," that interior inspiration which we all feel but which we can never quite describe or put our finger on? All these and more are discussed by Dr. Bradshaw here.
Charles S. Brown Th.D.
In this thought-provoking and moving interview, Dr. Brown speaks about his appreciation of faith and culture as matters of an intensely personal, but also communitarian and societal, nature. Discussing his teaching and mission work as a Professor and Pastor, Dr. Brown illuminates for us the communitarian key in which African spirituality, both on the continent and in the diaspora, is cast, and how that relates to the religious and moral meanings of black protest. Dr. Brown closes his discussion with a reflection upon the intensely powerful and even shocking hope which comes from faith in an ever-present God.
Witnesses of a Journey Faith: Robert Ellsberg on Orbis Books, Spiritual Masters, and Faith and Culture
Robert Ellsberg Th.M.
In this profound and heartfelt conversation, Robert Ellsberg of Orbis Books leads us on a journey through many saints and spiritual masters who stand at the heart of his own research and of the mission of Orbis Books - many of whose voices have heretofore not been prominent in theological circles. Ellsberg describes his profound understanding of faith and culture as illuminated by those same saints and spiritual masters, describing for us the richness of a Christianity which both flavors and is flavored by cultures all over the world - a truly global, inculturated Christian understanding of faith, culture, and their interplay. Perhaps the best summation of Ellsberg's profound take on little-known spiritual masters and those voices residing outside the more frequented theological circles is the great importance he sees in Pope Francis' distinction between a "laboratory faith" that remains stagnant and a "journey faith" which is dynamic, adaptable, and invigorating.
The Dynamic Duo of Faith & Culture and the Easter Hope: Dr. Roberto S. Goizueta on Faith and Culture
Roberto S. Goizueta Ph.D.
In this delightful, nuanced, and deeply engaging discussion with Dr. Sandra Yocum and Chanel Winston, Dr. Roberto S. Goizueta dives into the interrelationship of faith and culture, and most especially their interdependence and mutual formation, one of the other. He speaks to the radically inculturated and incarnated nature of faith - how our faith is really defined on a day-to-day basis on the basis not so much on our intellectual beliefs, but on how we live out our lives - what we spend our money on, what we give our time to, and ultimately what we put our trust in at the end of the day. Dr. Goizueta concludes his discussion with a moving reflection on the hope that the crucified and risen Lord gives him, the hope that continues to animate his life and work and which he sees as operative in the world.
Daria-Yvonne Jackson Graham Ph.D.
In this thoughtful and moving interview, Dr. Daria Graham gives us an eye-opening tour of the multiple pathways in which faith and culture are related to one another. Emphasizing the often hidden power that culture can exert over faith in a church setting, Dr. Graham draws our attention to the need for a more thoughtful consideration of the relationship between church and culture, faith and culture, church and faith. In a beautiful manner, Dr. Graham describes how she understands her own faith: they are the glasses which are the first thing she reaches for upon waking. Faith and culture engage in a mutual performance that displays that which is most important to us, and those characteristics of our lives, routines, and worship which we may not often think about.
Stan J. Tharp D.Min.
In this heartfelt and inspiring one-on-one, Dr. Stan J. Tharp of the Christian Life Center guides us through his faith-filled understanding of the numerous challenges presented by our modern culture, to all people and especially to people of faith. Discussing the truly welcoming environment created by he and his team for the worship of his congregation, Pastor Stan illuminates how there are certain objective moral truths to which our Christian faith calls us to adhere, and he describes simultaneously the great charity that ought to animate all discussion and debate undertaken by Christians.