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Podcast Interview: “Sacrificing the Church” by Eugene Schlesinger

Dr. Eugene Schlesinger is the author of Sacrificing the Church: Mass, Mission, and Ecumenism, published in 2019 by Lexington Books and Fortress Press. Gene teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University. An Episcopalian systematic theologian, he is primarily engaged in Catholic theology, and specializing in ecclesiology and sacramental theology.

The interview is hosted on the New Books Network website. Click the link to see the Christian Studies channel or listen below.

Bernays, Horkheimer, and Adorno: Theory in the Age of Social Media

I recently contributed to Political Propaganda, Advertising, and Public Relations: Emerging Research and Opportunities (IGI Publications, 2019). The abstract for the chapter is as follows:

Social media and 21st century mass communication have changed the technological landscape of marketing and advertising, enabling instant content creation, content curation, and audience feedback. The thought of Edward Bernays can be useful in examining and interrogating today’s media, especially through the lens of Frankfurt School social theorists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. Further, the works Crystalizing Public Opinion and Propaganda are critiqued through ideas found in Dialectic of Enlightenment to give business and PR professionals ethical concepts that may be applied to modern trends in communications.

A Historical, Catechetical, Canonical, and Ecumenical Case for the Elevation of Consecrated Elements in Anglican Eucharistic Worship

At the “Rebellion to Reconciliation: Anglican-Catholic Relations from 1569 to the Present” conference at St Chad’s College (Durham University) and Ushaw College, I presented a paper on the elevation of the bread and wine following the respective Words of Institution. The paper is now available online.

Aquinas as Evangelical Historical-Critical Biblical Commentator: Hebrews 6:1-12

At the Ave Maria University conference on “Aquinas the Biblical Theologian,” I presented a paper entitled, “Aquinas as Evangelical Historical-Critical Biblical Commentator: Hebrews 6:1-12.”

Between Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant traditions, cross-denominational academic and homiletic opportunities exist within categories of “exegetical” or “expository” Biblical theology. For evangelicals, Scripture is often examined with eclectic historical-critical methods alongside biblical commentaries. In this paper, the use of St. Thomas’ writings on Hebrews 6:1-12 through an evangelical lens will be explored, navigating critiques of Protestant historical-criticism and “evangelical Thomism,” while highlighting the common “highest goods” of the centrality of Scripture and Christocentrism.

Psychology and Religion Encyclopedia Articles: “Fundamentalist Pastoral Care” and “Sanctification”

Two articles are set to be included in the upcoming 2019 (3rd edition) of Springer’s Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. These are now available on the online version of the resource.

Fundamentalist Pastoral Care abstract: Fundamentalist pastoral care refers to sets of helping professions and ministries that derive methods and techniques from biblical exegesis or application within the context of church and pastoral interventions. Adherents to fundamentalist pastoral care practices are often within the spectrum of conservative and evangelical Christian communities which provide care based upon theories such as biblical or nouthetic counseling, and by utilizing practices such as reparative therapy.

Sanctification abstract: Sanctification refers to the process of continuous bio-psycho-spiritual growth toward transcendent and transformative goals through the means of religious observance, personal improvement, and prosocial communal activity. The original Latin means “to make set apart,” indicating an evolutionary, iterative, or progressive change from a “pre-holy” state to a “becoming-holy” state (McGrath 1996).

A Critical-Mythological Examination of Natural Disaster Theodicies in Modern/Global/Connected Societies

At the Natural Disasters and the Apocalypse conference hosted at Hughes Hall, Cambridge, I presented a paper entitled, “Natural Disasters and the Apocalypse.”

Mass media communication through streaming and social media has shaped a society in which devastating catastrophes may be reported and commented upon near-instantaneously, leading to the phenomenon of de facto availability heuristics regarding the perception of higher-than-normal ubiquitous global chaos. Further, the current Modern age—dedicated to scientific correspondence and logical positivism—often flatly rejects “apologies” (that is, defenses) of the sustainability of human flourishing as found within defenses of some religious belief systems. It is here argued that the inflated availability of disasters in their “unrealism” (that is, the unrealistic nature of access to viewers or listeners by instantaneous means) is counteracted by different myth—experiential, narrative-based understandings of theodicy (that is, defense of divine action in response to perceived and actual widespread disaster or “evil”). A Leibnizian approach will be examined and explored, critiqued, and synthesized with a dialectically through the backdrop of 21st century culture and technological media, demonstrating an alternative narrative which finds itself grounded in neither analytic theology nor omnipresent media.