SSCS at the AAR Annual Meeting

Friday 20 November - Saturday 21 November
Atlanta, Georgia

Friday 20 November

Our Friday events this year will take place at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, 449 Auburn Avenue, NE, and at the adjoining Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Horizon campus, 101 Jackson Street, NE. Please join us for as much of the day as you can, and invite interested colleagues. Only the dinner requires registration and payment (by 24 October); all other events are free and open to all. (Tax-deductible contributions are welcome and can be made via our website. For additional information, please contact Anita Houck, Secretary/Treasurer, at

Exclusion and Embrace:  The Challenge of Racism Today
2:15 p.m.         Gathering in front of the Sway Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Hotel (265 Peachtree St.) to walk or share taxis to King Center
The Center is about 1.2 miles from the convention area; those walking will leave by 2:30 p.m. You’re also welcome to make your way to the Center on your own, and those coming to the events later are welcome to join us at any time. Public transportation going to the King Center is cumbersome, but it works well returning to the convention area in the evening.
3:00 p.m.         Tour of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center
4:00 p.m.         Conversation and Reflection at Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Campus
Diana Hayes, Georgetown University
Miroslav Volf, Yale University
All are welcome! Our session begins with a tour of the Martin Luther, King, Jr. Center, during which we will invite participants to reflect on the experience of racism in its many forms. At 4:00 p.m. we will proceed to the adjacent Horizon Campus of Ebenezer Baptist Church for a reflection by Miroslav Volf and shared conversation facilitated by Diana Hayes.
Society Dinner
5:30 p.m.-6:45 p.m.     Dinner catered by Ebenezer Baptist Church
Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Campus
We’re delighted again this year to gather Society members and their guests for dinner. The cost of dinner is $25 U.S. To RSVP, please send your meal choice (either [a] chicken marsala with green beans and rice pilaf, [b] vegetarian pasta with garden salad and rolls, or [c] gluten-free meal) along with your check for $25 payable to the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, by October 24, to Glen Scorgie at the address below. (International members may pay by cash at the door.) Full and partial scholarships are available on request for Society members, especially members of our Emerging Scholars group and members from developing countries. Members are also invited to sponsor a meal for another member; to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit our website. All meals include beer, wine, sweet tea, soft drinks, water, and dessert. We’re sorry that meal choices may not be changed after 31 October.

Send your reservation, scholarship request, and check to
Glen G. Scorgie
5719 Lance St.
San Diego, CA 92120
Members can also contact Glen at or (619) 583-7260.
Panel and Discussion: Spirituality and Pedagogy: An Intercultural Perspective
7:00 p.m.-8:15 p.m.    
Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Campus
Please join us for a panel discussion of teaching spirituality in different cultural contexts--a session also offered at our May conference with SPIRASA (the Spirituality Association of South Africa) in Johannesburg.
8:15-8:45 p.m.
Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Campus
All are welcome to share light refreshments after the panel. Members are encouraged to leave together to take the free Atlanta Streetcar, which provides convenient service every 15 minutes to return to the convention area (

Saturday, November 21
Presidential Address and Annual Meeting
9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Sheraton-Georgia 10 (Level 1)

9:00-10:15    “Into Local Waters: Rewilding the Study of Christian Spirituality”
The 2014 Presidential Address by Lisa Dahill (California Lutheran University)

10:30-11:30     Annual Meeting
Claire Wolfteich (Boston University School of Theology), President-elect, Presiding
All are welcome!

Christian Spirituality Group Sessions
Previous SSCS at the AAR Meetings


Sessions of the Christian Spirituality Group of the AAR

The Life and Times of a Modern Mystic: On the Centenary of the Birth of Thomas Merton
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Hyatt-Dunwoody (Atlanta Conference Level)

Co-sponsored with the Mysticism Group
Thomas Cattoi, Graduate Theological Union, Presiding

In recognition of the centenary of the birth of Thomas Merton, this session features papers that examine Merton's spirituality and mysticism.

  • Jack Downey, La Salle University: "We Drank Many Gin and Tonics": Desire & Enchantment in Merton's Buddhist Pilgrimage
  • Daniel Horan, Boston College: The Lady, The Dunce, and The Monk: How Julian of Norwich and John Duns Scotus Shaped Thomas Merton’s Incarnational Mysticism
  • Daniel Rober, St. John's University: Is Thomas Merton a Saint? Does it Matter? Mysticism, Postmodernity, and the Limits of Sanctity
  • Katelynn Carver, Harvard University: The Many-Storied Mountains: A Mertonian Model for the Spiritual Significance of Narrativity
  • Responding: Christine M. Bochen, Nazareth College

Preaching and Spirituality in the Work of Barbara Brown Taylor
Sunday - 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Hyatt-Dunwoody (Atlanta Conference Level)

Lauren Winner, Duke University, Presiding

Barbara Brown Taylor (author, most recently, of Learning to Walk in the Dark) has been a remarkably influential voice in the landscape of North American Protestant (and post-Christian) spirituality over the last three decades, but she has received little attention from scholars. The panel aims to limn the contours of the spirituality on offer in her sermons and books, and to consider what her ever-increasing popularity suggests about the landscape of contemporary North American spirituality. Examining both her preaching life and her non-homiletical prose, the panel will consider questions including: What is the role of imagination in Taylor’s preaching? What, precisely, is the shape of the spiritual life to which Taylor is inviting her readers? What is distinctive about Taylor’s voice as a non-fiction prose writer? How does Scripture work in her non-homiletical prose? What range of sources does she draw on in addition to or in lieu of Bible?

Peter S. Hawkins, Yale Divinity School
Thomas Long, Emory University
Donyelle McCray, Virginia Theological Seminary



Perspectives on Teresa of Avila on the 500th Anniversary of Her Birth
Monday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Hilton-Grand Salon D (Level2)

Mary Frohlich, Catholic Theological Union, Presiding

In recognition of the 500th anniversary of her birth, this session will feature papers examining the spirituality of Teresa of Avila from a variety of perspectives.


  • Jean-Pierre Fortin, Université de Sherbrooke: Prayerful Spirituality as Experiential Theology: Teresa of Avila’s Mystical Transposition of Augustine’s Confessions
  • Tara Soughers: “The More He Loves Them the Greater the Tribulation”: Teresa of Avila’s Spirituality of Suffering
  • Ryan Kuratko, Emory University: Attending to Others: Iris Murdoch and Teresa of Avila on Attention, Consolation, and Transformation
  • Mauricio Najarro, Graduate Theological Union: Hematological Linguistic and Itinerant Practice: Spirituality and Tradition in Teresa of Ávila
  • Responding: Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago

Business Meeting: Glenn Young, Rockhurst University

Gendering Gospel Music
Monday - 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Hilton-Crystal CD (Level1)

Co-sponsored with the Bible in Racial, Ethnic, and Indigenous Communities Group, the Music and Religion Group, and the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements Group
David Stowe, Michigan State University, Presiding

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Colby College: I Opened My Mouth to the Lord! Authoritative Women’s Voices and Prophetic-Apocalyptic Biblical Discourse in Gospel Music
Alisha L. Jones, Indiana University: Singing High: Black Countertenors, Treble Timbres of Transcendence in Gospel Performance
Charrise Barron, Harvard University: Sweeter: The Gospel Music and Performance of Kim Burrell
Cory Hunter, Princeton University: Gospel Love Albums: Sex, Sensuality, and Spirituality


Meetings: 201320142016, 2017, 2018, 2019