Passion Talks are a platform for scholarly Christians to develop and share their voice in order to foster humble dialogue between scholarly communities and the Christian Church.
The word “scholars” is used here broadly, intended to be inclusive of students, academics, professionals, and other experts, and meant to imply anyone who performs intellectual work with rigorous training in a particular field of knowledge. We use the term “the Church” here to broadly encompass all Christians, whose faith in Jesus Christ informs a specific worldview. By extension, “scholarly Christians” are individuals who find themselves members of both groups, whose backgrounds position them uniquely to bridge this gap between the scholars and the Church.
The faith and scholarly expertise of a Christian scholar can enrich each other. It can, however, take some effort to make and articulate the connections between them. Developing the unique voice of Christian scholars helps clarify the faith-scholarship connection while building a better integrated platform between often estranged communities. Christian scholars themselves benefit by gaining a broader context for intellectual pursuits and a better understanding of themselves and their work.
There is a great need for the Church to understand how scholarly work relates to Christian truths. This understanding can be critical for engaging with the world, and can lead to a deeper appreciation of God’s creation. The Church is increasingly seen as anti-intellectual, and this threatens its credibility to speak with authority. By sharing their expertise with the Church, Christian scholars can provide clarification and interpretation of current scholarly work in ways that bring their shared values together.
The creation and appreciation of knowledge are better served by the synthesis of scholarly pursuits and enriching faith than by their separation. A Christian perspective, grounded in the love of Jesus Christ, can positively transform a scholar’s relationship with their work and the world. This affects not only how they explore and create knowledge, but also how they find meaning in their work and deal with success and disappointment. This Christian perspective on scholarship has the potential to change and enrich a person’s work and life, and provide meaningful context to intellectual work.
Scholars and Christians are united by their passions for understanding reality and their work for making a better world. The current dissonance between these communities, however, suggests the need for humble exchange to better understand shared values and shared goals. Passion Talks seeks to create a space where members of scholarly communities and the Christian Church can come together to engage in respectful dialogue. This humble exchange will enable progress through a unified understanding of values and pursuits, and reduce barriers between the two groups.