Westmont Magazine The Rewards of Scholarship
Winning one of six Individual Artist Awards from The Arts Fund of Santa Barbara, Dr. Paul Willis, associate professor of English, and one other recipient earned this prize for their poetry. They prevailed in a pool of 69 entries. Based on accomplishments over the course of their careers, the honor includes a $1,000 cash award.
In addition to poetry, Dr. Willis’ specialties include literature and the environment and wilderness issues. He has written two novels focusing on these themes: “The Stolen River” (Crossway Books, 1992/Avon, 1993), which won “Christianity Today” magazine’s Critics’ Choice Award in 1992, and “No Clock in the Forest: An Alpine Tale” (Crossway Books, 1991/Avon, 1993).
In a new book, “Theology as Cultural Critique” (Mercer University Press), Dr. Jonathan Wilson examines the work of the influential theologian Julian Hartt, whose 40-year teaching career has included posts at Yale University and the University of Virginia. Dr. Wilson is an associate professor of religious studies and the chair of the religious studies department.
In his book, he develops Hartt’s “gospel realism” to show how the Gospel demands theology as cultural critique and how Hartt’s theology intends to help form a prophetic church that discerns between truth and the illusions of culture in order to witness to the kingdom of God. Dr. Wilson commends four characteristics of Hartt’s theological method that sustain theology as cultural critique: evangelizing imagination, transforming history, replacing metaphysics, and asserting truth.
Dr. Ray Paloutzian, professor of psychology, and co-author L. A. Kirkpatrick have won a Templeton award for their introductory article to “Religious Influences on Personal and Societal Well-Being,” a special issue of the “Journal of Social Issues” which they also co-edited. This award for an Exemplary Paper in Humility Theology recognizes the authors’ outstanding contribution in the category of Religion and the Human Behavioral Sciences. Their article addresses both the beneficial and detrimental effects of religion on specific social problems such as mental and physical health and substance abuse.