Connecting Christianity and Literature

by Public Relations Office - Cedarville, OH

What do literature and religion have in common? Participants at the October 12-13 Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL) Mideast Regional Conference explored the answer to that question at Cedarville University this fall. Focusing on the theme “Incarnation in the Classroom: Mentoring the Next Generation of Scholars, Teachers, and Writers,” the conference included multiple sessions led by writers representing various regional colleges and universities. Discussion topics included Christian creative writing, the role of the Christian faith in secular composition, and the use of popular culture to advance literature.

Dr. Donald Deardorff, associate professor of English at Cedarville and conference coordinator, was excited about the effect this event had on Christian educators. “It gave Christian English teachers from around the region a chance to share ideas about how to bring their faith to the various aspects of the discipline,” he explained. The conference allowed English teachers to learn from one another as they discussed how to infuse their faith into their pedagogical and creative practices.

The featured speaker was Dr. Jeanne Murray Walker, playwright and author of six books of poetry. A professor of English at the University of Delaware, Jeanne has received both the Reader’s Choice Award (2003) and the Prairie Schooner-Strousse Prize (1998), among other honors. Former poetry editor of the journal Christianity and Literature, she presently serves on the editorial board of Shenandoah and is writing her seventh play, titled Called to Sing.

CCL is an interdisciplinary society dedicated to exploring the relationship between Christianity and literature. Officially founded in 1956, the organization includes hundreds of members from a variety of academic and religious institutions in more than a dozen countries.