Introducing Scott Jackson

[Ed. note - It is my pleasure to welcome the newest member of the DET contributor family. He's done some good work over at his blog, Theology of Freedom, and I'm excited to have him on board.]

I wish to thank Travis McMaken for the privilege of writing for DET. (Read some of his published stuff: It's not bad.)

Please allow me a brief self introduction. I grew up as a preacher’s kid in Southern Baptist Churches, mostly in Alabama; it was quite an intense and thorough formation. With a scholarship for PKs in tow, I attended Samford University, a Baptist-affiliated school in Birmingham, where I studied journalism and worked for the college newspaper. Other passions intervened, though, and reoriented my life plan. On the weekend I graduated, nearly 20 years ago, I was also confirmed in the Episcopal Church, where I’ve remained ever since. As a graduation gift, I received a copy of Tillich’s Systematic Theology, and I was soon off to pursue a master’s in theology at Emory University where I endeavored to seek “the Truth” (with a Kierkegaardian capital "T") – at least that’s what I said in my application essay. Early on, I was into process theology (Teilhard de Chardin especially), but in the years to follow I came to identify myself more with the “neo-orthodox” and “post-liberals,” two of the most beleaguered theological labels of the 20th century. Today, I'm tending to eschew labels altogether.

Like many other DET readers, no doubt, I have this addiction to the “Big Questions,” so (of course) I entered the Ph.D. program in systematics at the University of Chicago. I was pretty naive about the academic job market and practical matters like that: All I knew is I wanted to study. I studied with some very fine teachers at Chicago; Prof. Kathryn Tanner was my major advisor and ably supervised my dissertation on Barth. While in Chicago, I lived among some marvelous scholars and divinity students at the Disciples Divinity House. They mostly tolerated my piano playing on the baby grand in the common area, except during reading week. I also got involved at Brent House, the Episcopal campus ministry, and worked there a couple of years.

I met my future wife in Chicago and we eventually moved to Massachusetts. I’ve done a bit of adjunct teaching in general religious studies and some work in lay ministry among young adults, students and the homeless. We now live in Northampton with our son, about 200 yards from the gravesite of Jerusha Edwards and David Brainerd. I like to think of Northampton as haunted by the ghosts of three theologians who once lived here (though I don’t believe in ghosts, and this is not that kind of blog) – Jonathan Edwards, Sojourner Truth and William Stringfellow. Perhaps I'll write something about them here.

As for my research interests, I’ll briefly tag the main ones here – Reformed theology, radical politics and social theory. For the most part, I’ve written about Christology, the doctrine of God and theodicy and more recently have dipped into theo-politics. Most recently I've been working especially on the political theology of William Stringfellow. Unfortunately (as it seems to me), I've never gotten over being obsessed with the question of revelation and the epistemological problems posed by modernity. Judging from some of the conversations I've followed at DET and elsewhere, apparently, I'm not the only one.

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